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Israeli Arab Reportedly Killed in Syria is Still Alive

Muayyed Ighbariya called his parents Saturday; was thought to have died fighting for Al Qaeda-aligned Al Nusra Front.
By Ari Soffer
First Publish: 10/19/2013, 11:21 PM

Illustration: Syrian rebels evacuate wounded fighter
Illustration: Syrian rebels evacuate wounded fighter
Reuters

An Israeli Arab reported killed last month fighting for a jihadist group in Syria phoned home on Saturday to say he was alive and well, his father said.    

"My son called me around 11.00 am," Zaki Ighbariya told AFP.

"He said that he and two friends... who went with him are alive and well."  

He said that he was initially skeptical that the call was real, suspecting that he was the victim of a hoax, but that he realized it was really his son after he correctly answered a number of personal questions.    

Muayyed would not disclose his location to his family, but claimed to have been previously in an area "without telephone signal" and that he was thus unaware of reports of his death.

Muayyed left his village near the northern Israeli town of Umm al-Fahm and crossed into Syria through Turkey about two months ago, his family said.

In September his relatives received reports that Muayyed had been killed in battle, but did not say who had told them.  

"We were happy to think that he died a martyr, because that was his mission," Zaki Ighbariya said on Saturday. "Today we are happy once again because he is alive."  

According to his family, Muid married just last year but did not inform his wife or other family members that he had entered Syria. He left Israel about three weeks prior to his reported death along with two other companions, who have not been heard from since.

Since the beginning of the conflict in Syria, Israeli police have arrested at least three other Arab citizens who went to fight against President Bashar al-Assad's forces for "leaving the country illegally and travelling to a hostile state."  

Like Muayyed Ighbariya, they allegedly joined the Al Qaeda-linked Al Nusra Front, and two of those arrested were sentenced in August to 19 months in prison. 

Members of Al-Nusra and other rebel groups have committed atrocities during the Syrian civil war, including publicly beheading a Catholic priest who was accused of collaborating with Bashar Al-Assad’s regime.

Al-Nusra was once was the largest faction in the Islamist Front for the Liberation of Syria (ISIS), the 13-member rebel coalition that broke away from the main opposition force and has declared its own Islamic state in Aleppo.