Dealing with the Israeli IS volunteers

ATEF SAFADI

Israeli soldiers stand on a tank, next to the Israeli-Syrian border, near the Syrian village of Ma'rbah, south of the Golan Heights, where a fire exchange incident between the Israeli army and Islamic state gunmen (IS) took place, 27 November 2016.

Dealing with the Israeli IS volunteers


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Israel will revoke the citizenship of 19 Israelis who have fought for the Islamic State in Syria, Jerusalem Post reports.

According to a Channel 2 report, the decision was made by the Minister of Interior, Arye Deri, on the basis of evidence provided by the Israeli Security Service (Shin Bet). The Shin Bet file documents the link between 20 Israeli citizens and the Islamic State, one of whom died in battle.

Overall, 60 Israeli citizens are estimated to have traveled to Syria and Iraq to fight with different rebel groups, including the Islamic State. Many were arrested before they had the chance to leave. Fewer than 10 have returned.

The majority of the fighters are Arab Israeli, including a former combat soldier for the Israeli Defense Force. However, among the volunteers, there are also two Jewish born converts to Islam, that is, a 32-year old man from Lod and a 28-year old woman from Ashdod. According to the Times of Israel, they both hailed from the former USSR.

Israel has abstained from direct engagement in warfare in Syria, taking action only against its traditional foes, the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militia.

There have been two IS-inspired attacks in Israel in 2016, both in Tel Aviv. There have also been two known foiled attacks, one in 2015 and one in February 2017.

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