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Israeli Arab Arrested for Helping Relatives Join Syrian Rebels

Negev resident helped two relatives over the Turkish border and into Syria, Shin Bet says, using social networks.
By Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 5/27/2014, 1:57 PM

Islamist rebels in Syria
Islamist rebels in Syria
Reuters

The Israel Security Agency (ISA or Shin Bet), along with the Israeli police, successfully apprehended an Israeli Arab who helped two of his relatives leave Israel and join jihadists in Syria, according to news permitted for publication Tuesday.

The detainee is Idris Ahmed Abu Taleb Alkayaan, 23, a resident of the Hora Bedouin settlement in the Negev. Alkayaan, a Salafist, helped two relatives, also Negev residents, join the Islamist, Al-Qaeda linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). 

Idris was arrested on April 28, 2014, on suspicion of helping his relatives Othman Abu Alkayaan and Shafiq Abu Alkayaan, also residents of Hora, leave for Syria to join the fight against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad. 

During the interrogation, Idris admitted that he knew in advance about the intentions of the two to leave for Syria, and concealed it from others; that he helped coordinate the trip to Syria via Turkey; that he gave them money to finance the trip; that he gave the two details of other officials in the Islamist movement; and that he carried out much of this criminal activity via social networking sites.

On May 15, 2014 the ISA filed charges against Idris Abu Alkayaan, at the Be'er Sheva Magistrate Court, for the offenses of conspiracy to commit a crime and assisting others to exit Israel unlawfully.

Foreign nationals from around the world have been joining the fight, including from Israel. 

Increasingly, however, western states have become uneasy over the growing influence of radical Islamist elements among the rebel movement. Recently, funding for some "extremist" rebel groups has been revoked, but foreign nationals - including many western citizens - continue to pour into Syria, and western security services are concerned about what this means for their own countries' future security. 

The West has become so concerned, in fact, that they have reached out to Assad's regime forces over the issue - but no progress has yet been made. In the meantime, eyewitness accounts have confirmed what analysts have long suspected: that Al Qaeda is training Western nationals in the war-torn country to bring fundamentalist Islam - and terrorism - back home with them.