Israeli Arab Charged With Helping Relatives Join Syrian Fighting

Negev resident maintained contacts with Islamists through Facebook and Twitter, coordinated journey through Turkey to help rebels against Assad.

Fighters from the Al-Qaida linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant marching in Raqqa, Syria, in an undated photo posted on a militant website, Jan. 14, 2014. AP

The Shin Bet security service, with the help of the Israel Police, has arrested a Negev resident on suspicion he assisted two relatives to cross into Syria and join an Islamist organization, Israel National News reported Tuesday.

He was indicted on May 15 for maintaining contact with an enemy entity and abetting illegal travel abroad. The Shin Bet has only now released the details of the arrest and charges.

The suspect is Idris Taleb Ahmed Abu Alkiaan, 23, who reportedly belongs to the extremist Salafi stream. His relatives, also from the Negev town of Hura, allegedly joined an Islamist militant group fighting the Assad regime.

According to report, Abu Alkiaan was arrested on April 28 on suspicion of assisting his brother Othman Abu Alkiaan and his cousin Shafik Abu Alkiaan, to cross into Syria.

Abu Alkiaan confessed when interrogated by the Shin Bet that he knew of his relatives' intentions, hid this fact from others, and helped coordinate their journey to Syria via Turkey, Israel National News reported.

He also confessed to providing them with travel expenses and gave them information about other groups they could assist. He conducted most of his contacts with the terror groups through Facebook and Twitter.

Shin Bet officials said they are aware of Israeli Arab citizens leaving to fight in Syria, but this incident was the first time they identified a Negev resident joining the battles there. They expressed concern over the danger of the influence of Islamist extremists on Israeli citizens.