Islamic State terrorists (AP) (AP)
ISIS terrorists

Israeli Arab Hamza Magamsa was sentenced to three years in prison for training with ISIS. It is feared that ISIS recruits will carry out attacks within Israel and spread the ideology.

An Israeli citizen was sentenced to three years in prison Wednesday for traveling to Syria to train with the Islamic State (ISIS). This is the longest sentence received by any Israeli Arab for joining the terrorist movement so far.

Hamza Magamsa was found guilty by the Nazareth Magistrate’s Court of contact with a foreign agent, membership in a banned organization, conspiracy to commit a crime and leaving the country illegally. Magamsa admitted to travelling to Syria with two friends from his hometown of Yafia in the Galilee. The men were planning to attend 15 days of religious studies followed by 30 days of military training before being placed in ISIS units. However, Magamsa, who remained in contact with friends and family in Israel, decided to return via Turkey after only 10 days. He was arrested upon his arrival at Ben Gurion Airport on November 24.

According to Magamsa’s testimony, he and his friends were convinced to join ISIS after watching the terror group’s online propaganda videos. They contacted the terrorist organization via Facebook, where they received instructions on where to go for training in Syria.

Some 40 Israeli Arabs have gone to Syria to fight, mostly on behalf of ISIS and the Nusra Front, the Shin Bet reported last November. Most of them were first exposed to Salafist ideology as university students in Jordan or Europe. Although this number is relatively small, Israel is concerned that these volunteers could be a valuable source of information for carrying out terrorist attacks within Israel. Upon their return, they could also spread jihadist ideology or establish new terrorist cells.

Israeli intelligence is working to identify young people who intend to fight in Syria and banning them from leaving the country. The few Israeli citizens who returned from Syria were arrested, although their sentences were generally in the 6-12 month range.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon confirmed earlier this week that Israel is providing humanitarian aid, including medical care, to rebel groups in Syria on the condition that they keep Islamic terrorists away from the border with Israel. The rebels must also commit to leaving the local Druze population unharmed, given the close ties between the Druze in the Golan and in Syria.

By: Sara Abramowicz, United with Israel