Israeli Arab Sentenced to 70 Months in Prison Over IS Membership Plot

YERUSHALAYIM -
Smokes rises after an airstrike on an Islamic State militants-held area in Sirte, Libya, in 2016. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo)rae

Wizzam Zabidat, a resident of the Galilee Arab town of Sakhnin, was sentenced Thursday to 70 months in prison, and fined NIS 14,000, after he was convicted of planning and acting to join the Islamic State terror group. Zabidat and his wife Wasbarin, together with their children, traveled to Syria in order to join IS. Wasbarin Zabidat was previously sentenced to four years in prison for her role in the plot. She was declared by authorities as the organizer of the plot.

According to officials,, the Zabidats had left Israel for Iraq in July 2015, traveling by way of Romania. They then entered Turkey, and from there made contact with IS agents, who took them into Syria. There they officially joined the group, and were sent to Mosul, where Wizzam Zabidat fought with IS, while his wife worked in a local hospital. Their three children went to IS-sponsored schools in Mosul. They decided to return to Israel after Wizzam Zabidat was injured in the fighting.

The Zabidats were charged with making contact with a foreign agent, and attempting to leave Israel and join a terror group. According to the indictment, the Israeli public was “in profound danger” as a result of their adventure. All members of the family are Israeli citizens and there was grave concern that they planned to carry out terror attacks in Israel on behalf of IS.