Israeli intelligence has succeeded in foiling the first-known ISIS plot to attack the Jewish homeland, FoxNews.com reported on Thursday.
According to the internal Israeli intelligence agency, Shin Bet, an ISIS cell training within the Israeli forests close to Galilee was preparing to launch an attack on Israeli police and military installations, in addition to attacking liquor stores. The planned attack was disrupted several weeks ago, but has only now been made public. Seven individuals—all Israeli Arabs—were charged in connection with the ISIS plot.
A report released by Shin Bet states:
During the interrogation by Shin Bet, the suspects admitted that during the last year they had been working to get weapons, train with them, and collect intelligence around an IDF base and police forces, and all of this in order to commit attacks under the flag of the Islamic State.
The attack is notable because it is believed to be the first planned offensive of the Islamic State inside of Israel, although Israeli intelligence was previously aware of a number of individuals who had traveled to Syria to join ISIS’s military offensive there and others who have made trips to the region or to neighboring Turkey and then returned to Israel.
It now appears that contact between the men charged in the ISIS terror plan and friends already in Syria was instrumental in initiating the planned attack. FoxNews.com reports:
Two of the suspects maintained Internet contact with friends who had gone to Syria in November and are now fighting with the Islamic State in Iraq, according to officials. During their interrogation, the two suspects said the ISIS operatives had convinced them to mount attacks, officials said. Training with a third man in forests close to their Galilee village of Yafia, they scouted police units in northern Israel, as well as a nearby army base. The suspects also revealed plans to attack liquor stores in Nazareth, resenting the consumption of alcohol which is forbidden under Islamic law.
While the swift takedown of the ISIS operatives might appear reassuring, Israeli intelligence warns that they are facing a rising threat from radicalized Muslims who travel to “jihadi war zones around the world” and then return with the intention of carrying out terror plots. Asked by FoxNews.com how close this ISIS plot came to succeeding, Israeli Police Inspector Mickey Rosenfeld responded “They were close enough.”