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Israel arrests six Arabs 'planning to join ISIS in Syria'

AFP , Wednesday 18 Nov 2015
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Israel has arrested six Israeli-Arabs on suspicion of planning to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State group in a case sparked by a man's paraglider journey, police said Wednesday.

All in their 20s and from Jaljulia north of Tel Aviv, the six were charged with "collaborating with hostile foreign forces and planning to travel to Syria illegally to join the ranks of the Islamic State," spokeswoman Luba Samri said in a statement.

The charges also included providing assistance to leave the country to join the jihadists.

Samri said the case dated back to October 24, when 23-year-old Nidal Hamad Salah from Jaljulia entered Syria illegally on a paraglider from the occupied Golan Heights.

The Shin Bet security services investigated the case and found six other people were intending to enter Syria, either by paragliding or through Turkey.

Among the defendants is Jihad Abu Hajla, 26, who previously fought with the ISIS in Syria, Samri said.

Upon his return he was arrested and held in jail for six months, but Samri said he "remained true to the ideas" of ISIS.

The spokeswoman said Israeli-Arabs travelling to Syria to fight with the Islamic State "represent a serious threat to Israel."

A number of them have died fighting with Islamist organisations, according to Israeli occupation security and their families. Others have been jailed for attempting to travel to Syria to fight.

Israeli Arabs are Palestinians who were not expelled by Israel in 1948 and account for more than 17 percent of the Israel's population.

Concern over foreign fighters travelling to and from Syria to fight with ISIS has further risen in the wake of the Paris attacks last week.

*The story was edited by Ahram Online.

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