MUSHIRFA: An Israeli Arab has been killed fighting for Syria’s rebels, his father said yesterday, the first such case for the Jewish state which has largely kept out of the civil war next door.
Mueid Agbaria, of the Galilee village of Mushirfa, travelled to Syria via Turkey last month without telling his family, his father Zaki said, adding that the married 28-year-old was accompanied by two other men from a nearby Israeli Arab town.
On Tuesday, the Agbaria family received a photograph of Mueid’s body, apparently taken on a battlefield in Syria. “We were hugely surprised. He was such a calm person,” Zaki Agbaria said, adding that his son had been “the most pious Muslim in our village”.
The insurgency against Syrian President Bashar Al Assad has drawn a trickle of volunteers from Israel’s 20 percent Arab minority.
Worried its citizens could gain military know-how and radical Islamist leanings, Israel has sought to deter the practice by trying two Arabs when they returned home. One was sentenced in July to 30 months in prison. Zaki Agbaria said he had heard Mueid died in Shabba, a district adjacent to the Damascus airport road where there were clashes on Tuesday.