Israel Nabs ISIS Cell in Hebron
Arrest of Palestinian ISIS cell further evidence that the jihadists sweeping the Middle East are making inroads in Israel
Israel’s military censor on Sunday cleared for publication the recent arrest of a terrorist cell claiming affiliation with the Islamic State (formerly ISIS) in the Judean town of Hebron.
The Shabak (Israel’s equivalent of the FBI) worked together with the IDF in November to track and successfully arrest the terror cell, which was made up of Palestinian residents of Hebron. There were no injuries on either side in the raid.
Security sources said the cell had been planning to attack a number of Israeli targets, both civilian and military. One specific plan involved the murder of an Israeli soldier and the use of his weapon and uniform to carry out a shooting attack against Israeli civilians.
Also in November, video footage showed Palestinian Muslim cleric Ali Abu Ahmad using Jerusalem’s Temple Mount as a platform to deliver an impromput, fiery sermon against the Jews and in support of ISIS.
In speaking to the faithful, Abu Ahmad denounced the Jews as “the most vile of creatures,” and openly prayed for the jihadists of ISIS to defeat America and its allies in Syria and Iraq.
“Oh Allah, annihilate America and its coalition. Oh Allah, enable us to cut off their heads. Oh Allah, help our brothers, the mujahideen in the land of Iraq and Syria,” Abu Ahmad cried.
In October, Barzilai Medical Center in the southern Israel coastal city of Ashkelon confirmed that one of its doctors had joined ISIS and had been killed while fighting for the Islamist horde in Syria.
A month earlier, a shocked Israeli media reported that mosques in Israel proper were preaching on behalf of the Islamic state.
“ISIS is on the right path,” an imam at a mosque in northern Israel told his congregants.
At another mosque in the area, a congregant publicly declared, “The Islamic State is the only one that can establish an Islamic state, and it is good they are punishing people. I hope they make it to Israel.”
Israel’s Ynet news portal reported that in both those cases, and many others like them, the statements of support for ISIS were quickly followed by verbal and even physical confrontations between local Muslims both for and against the Islamic State.
Many Israeli Muslims view ISIS as a threat, but the concern is that they will quickly and quietly fade to the background as the clamor from the terrorist movement’s backers grows ever louder.
“When the picture becomes clear, everyone will understand that the Islamic State is the only solution for everyone. Jews should also support the state and convert to Islam,” another imam told Ynet.
In Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth, a large sign featuring the ISIS symbol and a threat against “infidels that do not accept Islam” was taken down by police, only to be put back up with little or no public outcry.
“When a backdrop of sympathy exists, there are usually some who cross over to wider action,” warned former Mossad chief Efraim Halevy in a September interview with Army Radio.
Halevy noted that a similar thing had “occurred in western Europe and could already be happening here.”