On Sept. 17, numerous press reports indicated that Mueid Juma’a (Mueid Ighbariya), 28, had become the first Israeli killed in Syria since the start of the civil war. A day later, Agence France Presse reported that relatives of Juma’a said he had fought with the Al Nusrah Front in Syria. Reuters similarly quoted Juma’a’s father as saying that it was likely his son had fought with al Qaeda-linked fighters.
Then, on Sept. 28, the Ibn Taymiyyah Media Center, a jihadist media unit tied to the Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem, released posters for a number of jihadists, including Juma’a, who had been killed fighting in Syria.
Despite of all of this, Juma’a may be alive, Agence France Presse today reported.
An Israeli Arab reported killed last month fighting for a jihadist group in Syria, phoned home on Saturday to say he was alive and well, his father said.
“My son called me around 11.00 am,” Zaki Ighbariya told AFP. “He said that he and two friends… who went with him are alive and well.”
He said that his son Muayyed answered personal questions and convinced the family that it was really him, but did not say where he was.
According to Ynet News, at least 10 Israeli Arabs are believed to have joined the rebels in their fight against the Assad regime. Some of those who have fought in Syria and returned to Israel have been arrested by Israeli authorities. On Oct. 6, France 24 revealed that one Israeli Arab, identified as Khattab and fighting with the Al Nusrah Front, went to Syria via Turkey “after having established contact with certain people in Syria via social networking sites.”
In early August, Israeli authorities filed an indictment against an Israeli Arab from the village of Taybe who had allegedly traveled to Syria to fight with jihadist groups, specifically the Al Nusrah Front (Jabhat al Nusra).
Similarly, on July 8, Hikmat Massarwa, an Israeli Arab also from 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.
The Shin Bet has warned on a number of occasions since the start of fighting in Syria that authorities “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.”
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