Palestinian-Israeli gets 15 months for training in Syria
Published Tuesday 11/02/2014 (updated) 12/02/2014 13:06
File picture taken on October 25, 2013 shows members of
jihadist group the Al-Nusra Front taking part in a parade calling
for the establishment of an Islamic state in Syria, in the northern
city of Aleppo.(Karam Al-Masri/AFP/File)
JERUSALEM (AFP) -- A Palestinian citizen of Israel has been sentenced to 15 months in prison after being convicted of traveling to Syria and receiving training with the Al-Qaeda affiliated Al-Nusra Front.
According to the court ruling seen by AFP on Tuesday, Abdel Kader al-Taleh, 27, from the Palestinian village of Taibe in northern Israel, was convicted of "entering an enemy territory" and "illegal training for combat."
But charges of "contact with a foreign agent" were dropped as part of a plea bargain, the ruling said.
He was arrested by Israel's Shin Bet internal security service when he returned from Syria in July 2013.
According to the indictment, Taleh was approached by Al-Qaeda sympathizers while he was studying pharmacology in Jordan in 2010-2011.
In July last year, he traveled to Turkey and from there crossed into northern Syria.
There he made contact with Al-Nusra activists and spent three days in one of their training camps, where he received instruction in the use of weapons. But he decided not to stay and ended up going home.
In her ruling, Judge Shira Ben Shlomo noted the danger inherent in Palestinian-Israelis volunteering for jihadist groups in Syria, where they "receive ideological and military training which could then be used for carrying out attacks on Israeli targets".
She also flagged the danger of volunteers "sharing information" with Islamist rebels fighting the Syrian government.
Last month, the privately-run Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center estimated that about 20 Palestinian-Israelis had joined the rebels in Syria, as well as 30 Palestinians from Gaza and a handful from the West Bank.
Since the Syrian conflict erupted almost three years ago, Israeli security forces have arrested at least three Palestinian citizens on suspicion of fighting in Syria. Two were convicted last August and sentenced to 19 months in prison.