Sunday, October 02, 2016

02-Oct-16: ISIS has a foothold among Jerusalem Arabs, Israel Police tell court

Jerusalem's Teddy Kollek Stadium: One of the intended targets of
the terrorists [Image Source]
If you have been watching news reports over the past two weeks of Israel Police activity in the eastern and northern neighbourhoods of Jerusalem, you will be aware that there has been speculation about what's behind it. Turns out there was a focused investigation the details of which were embargoed.

The matter came before a court this morning, the eve of Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year),and is now public knowledge.

Israel National News reported at about 10:00 am:
Six Jerusalem Arabs have been indicted for allegedly working to establish a cell of the ISIS terror organization inside Israel. The six were charged in a Jerusalem court of security offenses, assisting an enemy in war-time, and association with a terror group. The suspects are residents of the Shuafat and Anata neighborhoods. According to the indictment, from 2015 until August 2016, the suspects made efforts to enlist in ISIS and establish an ISIS cell inside Israel. Among other activities, the six organized study sessions to spread the terror group’s radical ideology. [They] reportedly planned terror attacks against Jews in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
Haaretz initially (also around 10:00 am today) said
The Jerusalem District Prosecution, which filed the indictments, claims that the some of the suspects attempted to leave Israel to join Islamic State in Syria, and also planned to carry out attacks in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. The six suspects also established a study group to memorize ISIS' ideology, according to the prosecution. In August, five Israeli Arab men from the north were sentenced to prison terms ranging from two-and-a-half to six years for attempting to join ISIS.
Now (12 noon, Sunday) that same Haaretz story is substantially expanded with more details:
The Jerusalem District Prosecution filed two indictments, one to the local district court and another to the magistrate's court, against the six suspects from the Shoafat refugee camp and the neighborhood of Anata. The suspects, who were detained during an arrest operation some 10 days ago, stand accused of establishing an ISIS cell, attempting to reach Egypt or Syria to join forces with ISIS fighters and of planning to carry out attacks in Israel on behalf of the terror group.
According to the indictment, 29-year-old Ahmad Shweiky set up the network in 2015. He allegedly established a study group that met once a week to study ISIS' ideology. The group's members allegedly cut their hair, grew their beards and folded the hem of their pants, as is customary among ISIS members. About six months ago, two of the suspects – Amer Al-Baiyeh and Mohammed Hamid – are said to have traveled to the Egyptian border near Eilat to examine the possibility of crossing it to Sinai to join ISIS-affiliated fighters. They then attempted to obtain visas to Egypt but failed.
In June 2016, two of the suspects allegedly traveled to Turkey via Jordan in order to cross the border into Syria. They reached the city of Gaziantep but were caught by Turkish police, detained and expelled back to Jordan, before returning to Israel.
Once back in Israel, they began planning to carry out an attack, according to the indictment. They first considered purchasing weapons to carry out a shooting attack at a Tel Aviv beach, and later planned to make explosives. They considered carrying out, among other things, an attack near the Teddy Stadium in southwest Jerusalem or government buildings in the capital. They had managed to save up some 1,000 shekels in order to finance the attack until they were detained. After one of the suspects was arrested, two others planned to kidnap a soldier...  
We will update this during the day.

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