Police and Shin Bet security services last month arrested a pair of Israeli Arabs who planned to carry out a terrorist attack against IDF soldiers, it has been cleared for publication Tuesday.
The two young men – cousins from the Nazareth region in northern Israel – are Muhammed Omar Badr Hassan, in his early twenties, from the town of Rinah; and Ahmed Talal Ahmed Sueida, 23, of Um al-Ganem.
According to investigators, after Sueida made contact with ISIS operatives, the men traveled to Turkey in May 2015 with the intention of crossing the border into Syria to join ISIS forces there.
Once in Turkey, they traveled to an unspecified town on the Syrian border, where they were met by an ISIS smuggler who was charged with transporting them into “Islamic State” territory.
However, the two got cold feet after meeting with several Syrian refugees who described the horrific conditions of life under ISIS rule, and returned to Israel. Despite their aborted trip, the two still adhered to ISIS’s jihadist ideology, and upon their return to Israel established contact with ISIS terrorists and sympathizers abroad and in Israel.
They also considered trying to join the ranks of ISIS in Iraq, after Muhammed Hassan made contact with an ISIS commander there.
After a while, they opted instead to carry out a terrorist attack on behalf of ISIS inside Israel, identifying the Golani Interchange in the Lower Galilee as a prime target given the high concentration of soldiers who travel through it. Sueida then made contact with a third individual to purchase a gun for use in their attack.
In a statement, the Shin Bet security service said the planned attack “demonstrates the great risk resulting from the combination of extremist ideology and easy access to illegal weapons – and all this within a short period of time.
It also noted that ISIS has been banned as an illegal organization and a terrorist group by Israeli law.
Indictments were served against the suspects Tuesday morning, with charges including contacting a foreign agent, attempted travel to an enemy state, conspiracy to conduct a criminal act, and support of an illegal organization. Ahmed Sueida is also facing illegal weapons charges.
In recent weeks, security services have warned that ISIS terrorists are increasingly focusing on carrying attacks on Israeli territory, as opposed to merely leaving the country to fight for Islamic State in abroad.
Earlier this month, security forces announced the arrest of five Israeli Arabs – also from the Nazareth region – who were planning a terrorist campaign inside Israel.