Palestinian woman imprisoned for 'joining Islamic State'

Palestinian woman imprisoned for 'joining Islamic State'
2 min read
21 March, 2017
A Palestinian was sentenced to four years in prison for allegedly travelling to join the Islamic State group before returning to Israel, authorities allege.
Few disenfranchised youth have been radicalised by the militant group online [File Photo: AFP]

A Palestinian woman has been sentenced to four years in prison for joining the Islamic State group, Israeli media reported on Monday.

Sabreen Zabeidat, a Palestinian citizen of Israel from Sakhnin was arrested with her husband Wisam and three children at Ben Gurion Airport in September 2016, Israel's Channel 2 reported.

The family had allegedly travelled to Turkey before crossing into Syria in July 2015, according to Israel's security agency, Shin Bet.

The family then moved on to Mosul - the Islamic State group's last-standing stronghold in Iraq.

Israeli police said Sabreen had convinced her husband to join the group where he received religious instruction and military training before going into battle.

Wounded in the leg, he was hospitalised in Mosul where the family was living.

Sabreen worked at a hospital there while the children attended IS-run schools, Israeli police claimed.

They decided to leave Mosul because of bombing by the US-led anti-IS international coalition, harsh conditions imposed by the militants, and pressure from relatives in Israel.

The return journey took eight months, according to the Israeli police. 

After several failed attempts, the family passed from Syria into Turkey, paying thousands of dollars to smugglers. After crossing the border, they were arrested by Turkish police but later freed.

They finally arrived back in Israel on 22 September, where the parents were arrested and the children were put in the care of relatives.

In October, the couple was indicted in Haifa for joining the militant group.

Although the militant group has managed to recruit foreign fighters in large numbers, Palestinian recruits are minimal.

Despite this, IS has inspired some radicalised youths in Gaza who see Hamas as too moderate.

"Salafist jihadism is not native to Gaza, these are people who have been affected by online recruitment," Diaa Kahlout, The New Arab's correspondent in Gaza City said.

"There is no IS or al-Qaeda leadership in Gaza that would rally people to that cause. These are disenfranchised and disillusioned youths who may have once been Hamas members."