Islamic State (ISIS) on Thursday claimed in its magazine Dabiq that a 19-year-old Israeli Arab from eastern Jerusalem named Mohammed Said Ismail Musallam infiltrated them for the Mossad before being caught – according to Musallam's father, he had no ties to Mossad but rather joined ISIS of his own volition.
Musallam's father Said told Haaretz his son did travel to join ISIS three months ago as was reported in the ISIS magazine, and likewise was working as a firefighter after graduating high school as was recorded, but the claims of his being a Mossad spy are simply lies.
Three months ago Musallam left for a course in Rishon Letzion and asked his father for money, according to the father.
"He left that morning and the next day I tried to call him and the telephone was turned off. I thought that maybe he was busy. After a week we got an email that he wanted to be a martyr and he was giving up everything in his life and his family," recounts Said Musallam. "My children told me that he was in Syria and I believed it."
Musallam left for Turkey last October 24 en route to ISIS in Syria according to an Israeli security official, reports Reuters.
A week later he contacted his family and admitted that he had joined ISIS where he was studying Islam and getting weapons training.
"One day, I saw his picture on the computer and he had a beard and long hair. I asked him how he was doing and he said he was fine," said the father. "I told him if you want to come back, come back. After a while, he told me that he wanted to come back and asked if I was able to send him money. I sent him $200 to an Egyptian address that he gave me."
But Musallam never made it home – in January the family was told by a man not identified in the interview that he had seen their son in an ISIS prison in Syria, and that he had been caught trying to escape back to Turkey.
"He wasn't religious, he was a regular kid, everyone loved him," Said Musallam said of his son. "He is not a spy, he went over on his own – they recruited him on the internet. I don't know what they said to him or how they got into his head, but he is not connected with the Mossad, the Shin Bet security services or anyone else."
The testimony comes as Israel has seen a rapid increase in homegrown ISIS activity among Arab citizens. The terror organization has likewise indicated it intends to overthrow Hamas and the Palestinian Authority.