Seven Israeli Arabs Charged With Trying to Set Up ISIS Cell in Israel

Gili Cohen
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An image grab taken from a propaganda video portraying ISIS members executing Sryian military personnel, released on November 16, 2014.Credit: AFP
Gili Cohen

Seven Israeli Arabs from the Galilee were arrested late last year on suspicion of attempting to establish cells for the Islamic State (ISIS) in Israel, it was cleared for publication on Sunday. According to Shin Bet officials, one of the suspects tried to purchase weapons for use in a terror attack against security personnel and members of the Druze community in the name of ISIS.

The members of the alleged cell were indicted in Haifa District Court on Sunday. The charges include membership and activity in an illegal organization, supporting a terrorist group and an attempt to make contact with a foreign agent.

The suspects are Nazareth-resident Adnan Ala a-Din, 40; Hassem Marisat, 30, of Deir Hanna;; Mohammed Abu-Salah, 27, of Sakhnin; Karim Abu-Salah, 22, of Sakhnin; Alaa abu Salah, 27, of Be’er Sheva; Fadi Bashir, 29, of Sakhnin; and Khaled Abu-Salah, about 30, of Sakhnin.

Shin Bet officials said that the suspects admitted during questioning that they had formed a group over the past year devoted to Salafist Jihadist ideology, which advocates global jihad, and declared later on that they were loyal to ISIS. According to the Shin Bet officials, some members of the organization attended several meetings with a high-ranking sheikh of the Salafist Jihadist movement who is well known in the north. “The meetings with the sheikh, which focused on religious studies, featured preaching and persuasion to believe in the jihadist path,” the officials said. “The members of the outlawed group held secret, compartmentalized meetings in which they spoke about Salafist Jihadist ideology, Islamic State’s activity in Syria and preparations for traveling to Syria to fight.”

According to the Shin Bet officials, at the meetings the members of the group learned how to prepare Molotov cocktails “and how to slaughter animals as mental preparation for slaughtering ‘infidels’ on Syrian soil,” as the Shin Bet’s statement read. Shin Bet officials also said that the members of the cell were in contact over the Internet with Islamic State operatives in Syria, among them Israeli citizens who had traveled to Syria.

Shin Bet officials said that the major activist in the cell is Adnan Ala a-Din, the attorney from Nazareth.=

“Adnan introduced himself to the members of the group as a high-ranking official commander of Islamic State in Palestine, and was a dominant element among the activists. During their meetings, Adnan advocated engaging in military activity and perpetrating terror attacks against Jews, taught them how to prepare Molotov cocktails and to slaughter sheep as preparation, including mental preparation,” they said.

Karim Abu-Salah, one of the arrested men, was arrested at Ben-Gurion Airport in July 2014 when he attempted to travel to Syria to join jihadist fighters there. Shin Bet officials said that Karim admitted during his interrogation that he had tried to purchase arms for carrying out shooting attacks in Israel against security personnel and members of the Druze community in the name of Islamic State. Several other residents of Sakhnin who were allegedly involved in the arms purchase were also arrested.

Shin Bet officials also said that resident of the southern town Arara Benegev had been arrested for alleged connections with ISIS. The man, Omar Abu Kush, 28, graduated recently from medical school at the Jordan University of Science and Technology (JUST). He was in November and indicted in Be’er Sheva District Court on charges of contact with a foreign agent, supporting a terrorist organization, and writing, preparing, producing and publishing documents and property of an outlawed organization.

“The discovery of the outlawed organization in Israel and the prevention of deadly shooting attacks by one of its members points to a dangerous escalation among Israeli Arabs who advocate an ideology of global jihad and see the path of Islamic State as a way to fulfill their vision of establishing an Islamic caliphate,” the Shin Bet’s statement read.

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