Two Arab citizens from the northern city of Nazareth have been charged with plotting attacks on Israelis in support of ISIS.
20-year-old Baha Aldin Masarwa and 22-year-old Ahmed Ahmed were charged with contacting an enemy agent and support of a terror group. Masarwa was arrested in January and confirmed during his interrogation that he is an ISIS supporter, had attempted to contact the group in Syria and had posted ISIS-related content online.
According to the Shin Bet security agency, Masarwa said that he and Ahmed had planned to purchase weapons and carry out attacks at the Jamala checkpoint near Jenin, in Afula and at the Lion’s Gate of Jerusalem’s Old City. The indictment against them says that Masarwa and Ahmed “first watched videos and sermons from ISIS, and then were in contact via Facebook with its supporters from Israel and abroad.”
It is not the first time that arrests have been made in Israel over ISIS related activity. In December, five people from Nazareth were arrested for plotting attacks and just two months previously, seven Israeli citizens from Arab communities in northern Israel were charged with planning an attack, having undergone training and identified targets. Several Arab citizens of Israel are also thought to have travelled to Syria via Turkey to fight for ISIS. Yesterday evening, a Channel Ten report said that ISIS has around 100 activists in Israel and is pushing them to launch a major terrorist attack against Israelis.
Meanwhile, the Egypt-based Islamist group Sinai Province, which has pledged allegiance to ISIS, has made clear that it is committed to attacking Israel. Although the regime in Cairo appears to be their primary target, as recently as July Sinai Province was responsible for firing three Grad rockets into Israel. At the same time, another ISIS affiliate called Shuhada Yarmouk is believed to be increasing its activity near Israel’s border with Syria. The 600-strong group is thought to possess sophisticated weaponry seized from Syrian army troops, including tanks and mortars.