Islamic State of Iraq and Levant has been expanding its presence in Israel.
The Israeli intelligence community has detected efforts by ISIL to establish sleeper cells..
“So far, things have remained calm,” an official said. “But from all the evidence we have, Islamic State has not forgotten about us.”
In May 2014, Israeli authorities arrested a Bedouin Arab on charges of working for ISIL. The Israel Security Agency said the 23-year-old detainee, identified as Idrid Abu Al Kayan, was recruiting his neighbors to fight for ISIL in Syria.
“A substantial portion of contacts with these terror elements was carried out through social media networks, such as Facebook and Twitter,” ISA said.
Al Kayan was the latest ISIL suspect arrested in Israel or the West Bank. Al Kayan marked the first Bedouin who allegedly agreed to work with the Al Qaida franchise, the largest in the Middle East. Officials said the recruits were paid to fly to Turkey, where they were met by ISIL operatives and taken to Syria.
“The departure of Arab citizens of Israel to fight in Syria is a known phenomenon, but this is the first time Arabs from the Negev were found to have joined the Syrian war,” ISA said.
In May, ISA and police arrested an Arab from northern Israel who joined ISIL. The detainee, identified as Ahmed Shubaji, was said to have trained with heavy machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades before joining ISIL combat units near the Iraqi border with Syria.
“During questioning, Shurbaji confessed to traveling to Syria in order to take part in the struggle against the Syrian army,” ISA said.
In a statement on May 26, ISA said Al Kayan recruited his brother Othman and another relative, Shafik, to join ISIL in Syria. The security agency said Al Kayan said he knew others assigned to travel with his relatives.
Officials have acknowledged that young Israeli Muslims were being targeted by ISIL and other Al Qaida militias in Syria. They said some of the Muslims were attracted by promises of hefty salaries as well as the chance to fight for Islam.
“This is a dangerous phenomenon, as those who travel to this area undergo military training, are exposed to extreme global jihad ideology, and there are suspicions that they will be exploited to carry out terror attacks against the state of Israel at the end of the day,” ISA said.