Israel jails man convicted of fighting for ISIL
The 23-year-old was sentenced to 22 months in jail for joining ISIL in Syria (File/AFP)
Deputy president of the Haifa Magistrates Court Judge Orit Kantor sentenced Arab citizen of Israel Ahmed Shurbaji (23) - who returned on April 20 from fighting for Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria - with a mere 22 months of jail time, and an extra conditional year of jail.
Shurbaji, who hails from Umm al-Fahm in the north, claimed he "made a mistake" in joining the brutal terrorist group and tried to return. While there, he was revealed to have trained and studied Islam at an ISIS military camp, and also conducted military patrols to check the advance of Syrian army forces in which he was engaged in the fighting and fired a weapon.
The judge tried to explain her decision not to give Shurbaji the maximal sentence, saying "even if there is a supreme interest to battle the phenomenon of citizens or residents of Israel joining the jihad front in Syria in general, and to join ISIS in particular, I reason that the change in policy should be done gradually."
"I didn't find in the case of the accused exceptional conditions that would justify the change of policy by giving a maximal punishment of four years in jail," she argued.
Shurbaji is far from the only Israeli Arab joining ISIS's jihad; at least three other accomplices who left with him have yet to return.
Government sources revealed last month that no fewer than 30 Arab citizens of Israel have joined ISIS, and that there is a move in the Knesset to remove their citizenship.
Just last Friday another Israeli Arab, Hamza Sami Magamsah of Yafi'a village in the lower Galilee, returned to Israel with his father after joining and then fleeing from ISIS.
Terrorists with Islamic State also released video showing how they took part in the recent terror war against Israel in Gaza, and at least one former ISIS jihadist was killed in the Gaza fighting.
By Shlomo Pyotrkovsky