Israel indicts couple who travelled to Mosul to join ISIS

2016-10-21 06:30


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Jerusalem - An Israeli court indicted an Arab Israeli couple on Thursday for joining the extremist Islamic State group with their three young children.

According to the charge sheet, Wissam Zbeidat, 41, and his wife Sabrine, 30, of the Arab town of Sakhnin travelled to Turkey while on a family vacation in Romania in 2015. From there, they slipped across the border into Syria.

The indictment detailed that ISIS militants collected the family's Israeli passports and brought the new recruits to the Iraqi city of Mosul, an ISIS stronghold. The indictment says Wissam Zbeidat underwent military and ideological training and was wounded while fighting in the ranks of ISIS against the Iraqi army.

A fifth of Israeli citizens are Arab. ISIS does not have widespread support in Israel, but the Shin Bet intelligence agency estimates that 50 Arab citizens of Israel have travelled to Syria or Iraq to join the group in recent years.

The Zbeidat family eventually tried to leave ISIS because of the dangers of life in Mosul and the lack of schools, according to the indictment. The Shin Bet said their relatives helped them pay smugglers to extricate themselves from the ISIS.

The couple attempted to sneak back into Turkey 10 times, sometimes drugging their youngest daughter to prevent the child from crying and drawing the attention of authorities. When they finally succeeded, Turkish police arrested them.

Turkish authorities sent the family back to Israel in September, where they were arrested, according to the indictment. They face charges of contact with a foreign agent, membership in an outlawed organisation, membership in a terrorist group, aiding an illegal group and undergoing unlawful military training.

Read more on:    isis  |  israel  |  iraq  |  turkey  |  syria

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