Israeli security forces arrested three residents of southeast Jerusalem’s Umm Tuba neighborhood on suspicion of being members of ISIS, the Israel Police and Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) said in a joint statement on Thursday.
The three men, all in their 20s, are believed to have made contact with ISIS terrorists through social media. They allegedly pledged allegiance to the Islamic State and had concrete plans to leave Israel and join the terrorist group.
According to the Israeli statement, pro-ISIS materials and large amounts of cash were found during a police search of the suspects’ homes.
The three suspects were remanded pending the investigation. The prosecutor’s office is expected to file charges “in the coming days.”
Umm Tuba is southeast of Kibbutz Ramar Rachel and south of the Sur Baher neighborhood.
On Nov. 5, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian ISIS operative during an overnight arrest raid in the Arab village of Abu Dis outside Jerusalem. Nabil Halabia was recently jailed in Israel but was released in July.
The Israel Defense Forces said that from the moment he was released, Halabia “recruited a squad, purchased weapons and carried out a shooting attack against IDF forces in the area.
“When forces arrived to arrest him, the terrorist opened fire, and in the exchange of fire, he was shot and killed,” the army said, adding that soldiers confiscated his makeshift submachine gun.
In the wake of Hamas’s Oct. 7 cross-border attack on southwestern Israel, security forces found an ISIS flag on the body of one of the terrorists they killed in Kibbutz Sufa.
“Hamas is ISIS—this is not a slogan because we found terrorists with ISIS flags. We also found ISIS booklets. Hamas is ISIS,” IDF Spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari noted on Oct. 12.
Earlier this month, Israel’s parliament passed a law banning for two years the “systematic and prolonged” online viewing of pro-terrorist content.
The law, which expires in 2025 but can be extended, bars Israelis from systematically viewing online content that glorifies ISIS and Hamas. Anyone found guilty faces a prison sentence of up to one year.
The law contains an exception for people who watch terrorist content “randomly, in good faith, or for a legitimate reason including providing information to the public, preventing terror attacks, or for research purposes.”