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September 24, 2014 10:48 am

Israeli Arab Convicted of Fighting for Islamic State

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The flag of the Syrian al-Qaeda-affiliated group Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria. Photo: Wikimedia Commons. – An Israeli Arab man was convicted Tuesday of illegally entering Syria and training there with the Islamic State, making him the first Israeli citizen to be found guilty of joining the terrorist organization.

Umm al-Fahm resident Ahmad Shurbaji, 23, as convicted by the deputy president of the Haifa Magistrates’ Court, Judge Orit Kantor. The indictment against Shurbaji, first presented in May by Haifa District Attorney Meital Chen, said Shurbaji and three of his friends decided to leave Israel to join the Syrian rebels in their fight against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces. They joined an armed rebel faction with connections to Islamic State and were then recruited by the group to participate in military training, which provided them with theoretical and practical knowledge in weapons and terrorist strategies.

While in Syria, Shurbaji took part in several battles, participated in military tours, and was posted at checkpoints under Islamic State control. He is one of at least 10 Israeli Arabs that Israel’s Shin Bet security agency believes have joined Islamic State.

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