Israeli ‘Volunteer’ for Islamic State Arrested

YERUSHALAYIM -
A member of the Islamic State terror group holds an IS flag and a weapon on a street in the city of Mosul, Iraq, in this file photo. (Reuters/Stringer/Files)

The Shin Bet, along with the Israel Police, announced that they have arrested an Israeli citizen who attempted to leave for Syria to fight on behalf of the Islamic State terror group. The culprit, Valentin Vladimir Mazalevsky, 40, is an immigrant from Belarus who converted to Islam in 2000 during his IDF service. He was a resident of the Arab village of Shibli.

Investigators determined that Mazalevsky, who is married and has five children, was a supporter of the Islamic State terror group and had been in communication with members abroad. He had purchased a ticket to travel to Turkey, where he was to rendezvous with Islamic State terrorists and enter Syria, according to officials.

Mazalevsky was arrested on February 7, but the news of the arrest was only cleared for publication on Wednesday. He was indicted Wednesday, and will remain in custody until the end of proceedings against him, officials said.

The Shin Bet views the departure of Israelis to Syria and Iraq as a very dangerous phenomenon. The Islamic State terror group disseminates deceptive photographs to the effect that a good and respectable life is possible under its rule and that those who join the fighting will enjoy a religious and military adventure. However, the testimonies of Israelis who have returned from Syria and Iraq show the opposite – harsh conditions under constant threat.

The Shin Bet says that it views Islamic State supporters in Israel as a severe security threat and will continue to use all counterterrorist and preventive means at its disposal.

Overnight Wednesday, security officials said they arrested seven wanted security suspects in Yehudah and Shomron. The suspects were wanted for participating in rioting and throwing stones and firebombs that endangered Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers. Several of the suspects were also charged with belonging to Hamas. All were being questioned on their activities by security forces.