Two More Israeli Arabs Indicted for Planning IS Attacks

Marwan Khaledi, 20, seen at the courtroom of the Nazareth District Court on October 21, 2015. Tthe court sentenced Marwan Khaledi for 3.5 years in prison after he was convicted of fighting with Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq in 2014. Photo by Basel Awidat/Flash90
Marwan Khaledi seen at the courtroom of the Nazareth District Court on Oct. 21, 2015, where he was sentenced to 3 1/2 years after being convicted of fighting with Islamic State in Iraq in 2014. (Basel Awidat/Flash90)

Two Israeli Arabs were indicted Thursday after they were arrested for planning terror attacks on behalf of the Islamic State terror group, security officials said. Baha Al-din, 20, and Ahmad Ahmad, 22, were arrested in January and February respectively on charges of planning terror attacks, conspiracy, and other crimes. Part of the indictment was subject to a gag order, based on national security considerations, officials said.

According to the indictment, Al-din is the nephew of Ayman Kanju, a 44-year-old Shfar’am resident who attempted to flee to Syria in order to join IS. He was the pair’s handler, teaching them radical Islam and preparing them to carry out terror attacks. Also pushing the two to carry out attacks was a cousin, a doctor of philosophy who lives in Israel and whose name was not revealed in the published portion of the indictment.

Police and Shin Bet officials who detained Al-din discovered videos with specific instructions on how to carry out terror attacks on his cellular device. At one point, Al-din, a resident of Nazareth who was studying at a university in Jenin, recruited Ahmad to plan out a suicide terror attack in Yerushalayim. Each contributed NIS 1,500 to purchase materials to carry out the attack.

The two confessed to the planning of the attack under questioning, and said they were firm believers in Salafist Islam, which bids its followers to uproot and destroy “infidels” by any means possible.

Al-din and Ahmad are not the first Israeli Arabs to be recruited on behalf of IS. In December, security officials announced that they had arrested two Israeli Arabs – Muhammad Omar Badar Hassan, 20, and Ahmed Talal Ahmed Sa’adiya, 23, cousins and residents of Arab villages in the Nazareth area – who had planned to enter Syria and join Islamic State terrorists, but changed their mind after hearing horror stories about life in IS-controlled areas.

With that, they continued to involve themselves in anti-Israel and anti-Jewish incitement. They had also planned to carry out terror attacks in Israel, the two admitted under questioning, possibly at the Golani Junction, where many IDF soldiers catch rides to army bases in the north. Officials said that there were other instances of support of IS among Israeli Arabs, and that it was a growing phenomenon.