Father of Jerusalem Arab Held by Islamic State Denies He’s a Spy

The father of a Jerusalem Arab man held by Islamic State and accused of spying for Israel denied his son was working for the Mossad or any other Israeli intelligence agency.

Said Musallam, a driver for Israel’s Egged bus cooperative, said Thursday his 19-year-old son Muhammad disappeared three months ago and later told him he joined the militant group.

“He is not a spy” for Israel, said the father, 52, speaking by phone from his home in the east Jerusalem town of Neve Yaakov. “We are a well-known family. We are not collaborators.”

Muhammad Musallam was featured in this month’s issue of Islamic State’s English-language magazine, Dabiq. The story was titled “Interview with a Spy Working for the Israeli Mossad.” The group has been condemned around the world for beheading journalists and other prisoners, while it has recruited thousands of foreign volunteers drawn to its radical interpretation of Islam.

The father said he had reported Muhammad’s disappearance to Israeli police who told him his son had flown from Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport to Turkey. Many of Islamic State’s foreign recruits have traveled to Syria via Turkey.

Muhammad later communicated with his family through e-mail and said he wanted to “become a martyr” for Islamic State, his father said. Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld declined to comment on the case.

The magazine article, which features a large yellow-tinted picture of the young man’s face, quoted Muhammad Musallam as saying he was sent by Mossad to spy on the Islamic State. He said he was recruited for the agency by a Jewish neighbor who worked for the police.

Muhammad Musallam was cited in the article as saying he was trained by Mossad to use weapons, endure interrogation and extract information from others. When he was sent to Turkey and then Syria, he was instructed to report on the locations of Islamic State’s weapons, missiles and bases, along with the names of Palestinians who joined the group, the magazine said.

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