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Israel sentences Jewish convert to Islam over Daesh ties

By AFP - Feb 26,2018 - Last updated at Feb 26,2018

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM — An Israeli court on Monday sentenced a Jewish convert to Islam to 38 months in prison for seeking to join the Daesh extremist group in Syria.

Valentin Mazlevski, 40, a Belorussian immigrant who moved to Israel in 1996, was the first Jewish-born Israeli to be charged for having Daesh ties, according to the Shin Bet domestic security service.

He was arrested in February 2017, a few weeks after a failed attempt to fly from Israel to Turkey, from where he allegedly planned to cross into Syria to join Daesh forces.

The Nazareth district court said in its ruling that Mazlevski had "one goal: to join the organisation".

He acted "out of identification with the organisation's ideology", in the process "violating the law and endangering the state's security", it said.

In 2000, while performing compulsory service in the Israeli security forces, Mazlevski converted to Islam after meeting the Israeli Arab Muslim woman who would become his wife and mother of his five children.

Mazlevski, who became interested in Daesh and frequently viewed its online content in recent years, joined the extremist group's Internet forums, Israeli authorities said.

In July 2016, Israeli security forces warned him against taking part in Daesh activities, the sentencing read, but Mazlevski paid no heed and contacted extremists in bids to join Daesh fighters in Syria and later in Sinai. Both plans failed.

Shin Bet also revealed Monday it had arrested three Arab Israelis for allegedly planning to carry out shooting attacks at Al Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem or against Jewish or Christian prayer sites.

“Two cell members support the murderous ideology of the Daesh terrorist organisation and sought to perpetrate attacks in the context of this support,” the Shin Bet said in a statement.

Several Arabs from northern Israel have been arrested for alleged links with Daesh and around 20 Arab Israelis are now believed to be among its ranks in Syria and Iraq.

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