Israeli Arab who sought to fight with jihadists in Syria indicted

Two weeks ago, Israeli authorities filed an indictment against an Israeli Arab who had allegedly travelled to Syria to fight with jihadist groups, specifically the Al Nusrah Front (Jabhat al Nusra), against the Syrian regime. News of the indictment against Abed al Kader Afif Abed al Kader Altelah, 26, was revealed today as a gag order on the case was lifted.

Abed al Kader Afif Abed al Kader Altelah.jpg

According to a statement from the Shin Bet, Altelah, originally from the village of Taybe, had studied in Jordan and become friends with Iraqi and Palestinian students who followed the Salafi jihadist ideology. Altelah was influenced by these students and subsequently adopted the ideology himself, the Shin Bet said.

During interrogation, Altelah admitted to making contact with the Al Nusrah Front, an al Qaeda affiliate in Syria, and seeking to wage “jihad” against the Syrian army. According to the indictment, Altelah reached Syria after flying from Amman, Jordan to Turkey. He stayed in Syria no more than a week.

Altelah was arrested upon his arrival from Turkey at Ben Gurion Airport in Israel, according to the Jerusalem Post. Based on comments from Altelah’s lawyer, the Israeli paper suggested that Israeli authorities had become interested in Altelah as a result of his own family’s concern. According to the report, when his family saw that their son had booked flights to Turkey, they contacted the Israeli Foreign Ministry, which subsequently notified the Shin Bet.

The Jerusalem Post further added that Altelah’s lawyer claimed that his client had made a mistake when he went to Syria and that he had gone only to provide medical supplies. “[H]e realized he wasn’t Rambo,” so he returned, the lawyer said.

Today the Shin Bet repeated a previous warning about the involvement of Israeli Arabs in fighting for the Syrian opposition alongside jihadists. “There is a fear they [Israeli Arabs] will be exploited by terrorists [in Syria], both as a source of information about targets in Israel, as well as for carrying out military operations against Israel,” the Shin Bet said.

On July 8, Hikmat Massarwa, an Israeli Arab also from the village of Taybe, was sentenced to 30 months in jail. He had gone to Syria and trained with members of the Syrian opposition. While in Syria, Massarwa had been asked to carry out a suicide attack in Israel, but he declined.

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  • The Contractor says:

    He went to Syria to fight along side alleged jihadists knowing full well it was forbidden. That is less intelligent than merely stupid. I hope he draws heavy prison time for his willful actions and is then kicked out of country.
    Massarwa being recruited for a suicide attack against Israel after his Syria exploits pretty much seals it.

  • Mara Cohen says:

    When you are Israeli, having anything to do with with the Salafists, who are vowed and sworn to destroy Israel. I have watched the media, from al-aqsa channel, al-jazeera, etc., and every single one of them speak to the destruction of Israel. This young man seems to have voted on his citizenship with his feet. If he wishes to be Jordanian, he should go be that…the Syrians will not give him Citizenship, though as a descendent of the the folks who lived in the former Turkish Province of Greater Syria, I do understand his interest and involvement in Syrian affairs, most of the Mizrahi Israelis from the same area have the same concern, but that concern is mostly that it doesn’t spill over into the Nation State of Israel from the Nation State of Syria. I have to say, Shin Bet’s concerns on his loyalties, given his ties and associations is pretty much a given. You don’t go and hang out with your Country’s sworn enemies without having sympathies with them.


Islamic state



Al shabaab

Boko Haram