Israeli Arabs Charged With Setting Up ISIS-inspired Terror Cell

Group of seven accused of planning attacks and collecting information on IDF base.

An indictment was issued on Thursday morning against four Israeli Arabs, residents of Yafia and Nazareth, accusing them of starting a terrorist cell linked with ISIS in Israel, and attempts to carry out terror attacks.

An additional indictment was issued against three more individuals on weapons charges, and intent to carry out criminal acts

The indictments were issued by attorney Idit Amir with the Northern District Prosecutor's office following a joint operation conducted by the Israel Police, the Shin Bet security service and the Lahav 443 investigative unit.

The first four suspects are accused of illegal collaboration, contact with a foreign agent, weapons offense and intent to carry out criminal acts.

The four, Ahmed Mahajneh, Mohammad Sharif, Mohammad Gazalah and Ahmed Ahmed, all in their twenties, are accused of making contact with an Israeli currently fighting with Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, in Syria, who encouraged them to prepare for carrying out an attack in Israel.

According to the information included in the indictment, they collected intelligence information about an Israel Defense Forces base located near Migdal Haemek, as well as a police station in the area, and planned on throwing a firebomb at a police vehicle regularly stationed at the entrance to the town.

The first three suspects then approached Ahmed Ahmed, currently serving a life sentence for the murder of Israeli Yafim Weinstein in 2009, for assistance with their plans. Ahmed ordered the three to purchase an M16 assault rifle. They were unable to complete the purchase. During the investigation, Israeli forces found a pistol used by the suspects to practice shooting.

During questioning, the suspects admitted to planning attacks on Nazareth stores that sell alcohol. One suspect admitted to throwing a firebomb at such a business in Yafia in 2012.

Attorney Nazar Abood, representing the suspects, said that the indictment is particularly severe, and that his clients refute the charges. According to Abood, the results of the investigation are extensive and lawyers have yet to examine them fully.

This is not the first time Israeli Arabs have been arrested for attempting to join or emulate the radical group.

Roughly two weeks ago, a 44-year-old married mother of five from Shfaram was charged with a number of offenses related to an alleged attempt to join the Islamic State group. Iman Kanjou was arrested at Ben-Gurion International Airport about a month and a half ago after arriving from Turkey, where she allegedly tried to cross into Syria in order to teach religion to members of Islamic State.

In August, an Israeli Arab and a Palestinian from East Jerusalem were indicted for also allegedly trying to join the Islamic State group in Syria .