Israeli citizen attempted to join ISIS

Arab from Umm el-Fahm arrested by Israeli police at Ben Gurion Airport, after Turkish authorities prevented him from reaching Syria.

Ari Soffer ,

ISIS terrorist in Raqa, Syria
ISIS terrorist in Raqa, Syria

A 23-year-old Israeli Arab from Umm el-Fahm was indicted Wednesday morning for attempting to join the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group, after he was stopped at Ben Gurion Airport earlier this month on his way to Syria, it has been cleared for publication.

Ibrahim Hassan Yousef Agbariya was arrested as part of a joint Shin Bet and Israel Police investigation. Under interrogation, he revealed that he decided to leave to Syria after being exposed to ISIS videos and other propaganda, which inspired him to identify with the group's jihadist ideology, 

After conducting research online on how to reach the ranks of the "Islamic State", Agbariya booked a flight to Istanbul, Turkey, and from there traveled to Gaziantep, on the border with Syria. However, after arriving in Gaziantep he was arrested by Turkish police, who after several says of questioning deported him back to Israel for trial.

Investigators also discovered that prior to leaving for Syria Agbariya had left a note for his family explaining his decision to join ISIS. Several of Agbariya's associates were aware of his plans, and had even voiced support, highlighting once more the presence of radical Islamist elements within the Israeli-Arab community.

The Shin Bet security agency said in a statement that Agbariya's arrest once again underlined the threat posed by Arab citizens of Israel being indoctrinated by global jihadists.

As in previous cases, the Shin Bet noted that Arab Israelis who join foreign jihadist groups like ISIS or Al Qaeda gain military training and experience, as well as thorough ideological indoctrination, posing a significant threat to Israeli national security should they return.

Dozens of Arab Israelis have joined such groups in Syria and Iraq, and while most have either died there or still remain in those countries, a small number have returned.

In recent months, a number of ISIS-inspired terror plots on Israeli soil have been foiled, underscoring how some ISIS sympathizers in Israel have turned their attention to carrying out attacks against the Jewish state as opposed to risking arrest by attempting to travel abroad.