Israeli Arab Indicted for Trying to Join ISIS in Syria

Ibrahim Hassan Agbariyeh allegedly tried to join the group by passing through Istanbul and another Turkish city, Gaziantep.

An ISIS members waves a flag in Raqqa, Syria, June 29, 2014.
Stringer, Reuters

Charges were filed in Haifa on Wednesday against an Israeli citizen, Ibrahim Hassan Agbariyeh, for trying to leave Israel to join a terror group – the Islamic State.

According to the indictment, in May the 23-year-old from Umm al-Fahm sought to reach Syria through Turkey.

Before leaving Israel, he attempted to destroy his computer’s hard drive by placing it in a container of water; he had downloaded Islamic State videos, the indictment says. Before flying to Istanbul, he converted $2,300 and 750 shekels ($193) into Turkish lira at Ben-Gurion International Airport.

From Istanbul, he allegedly flew to Gaziantep (also known as Antep), a city about 50 kilometers from Turkey’s border with Syria.

In Gaziantep, Agbariyeh told a man who called himself Saleh that he planned to cross the border and join the Islamic State, the indictment says. Saleh suggested that he go to the Syrian city Idlib, where he could also join another terror group if he liked, the Nusra Front.

Agbariyeh eventually went to Gaziantep’s central bus station, allegedly intending to take a bus to the Syrian border. But he was arrested by Turkish security forces and sent back to Israel a few days later.

His lawyer, Wisam Araf, says he will comment after seeing the evidence.

Agbariyeh isn’t the first resident of the Israeli Arab city Umm al-Fahm to be linked to the Islamic State. Khalil Salah Asayed, 28, joined the group and was killed in March in a U.S.-led bombing raid.