Israel charges five Israeli Arabs with IS links

Jerusalem: Israel has charged five Arabs from the northern city of Nazareth for ties to the Islamic State group, the Shin Bet domestic security agency said today.

The men, aged from 18 to 27 years, were arrested in October and November but the news had been subject to a court gag order until now.

“Over the past year the young men obtained weapons and trained with them,” a statement said, adding that they had newly become devout Muslims, expressed support for IS and praised jihad against non-believers.

It said they had been charged with firearms offences, support for a banned organisation and taking part in its meetings, and had turned over to investigators two rifles with which they had practised.

They were named as Abdel Karim Abdel Rahman Saliman, Mohammed Abdel Rahman Saliman, Abdel Karim Jamal Saliman, Mohammed Salah Saliman and Murad Salim Saliman.

It did not state their family relationship.

Israeli Arabs are Palestinians and their descendants who remained after the creation of Israel in 1948 and account for more than 17 per cent of the country’s population.

Last month Israel arrested six of them on suspicion of planning to travel to Syria to join IS after another Arab man crossed from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights into the neighbouring country on a hang glider.

Police have said Israeli Arabs travelling to Syria to fight for IS represent “a serious threat to Israel.”

A number of them have died fighting with Islamist organisations, according to Israeli security and their families.

Others have been jailed for attempting to travel to Syria to fight.