JERUSALEM (AP) — An Arab citizen of Israel using a paraglider flew into neighboring Syria, the Israeli military said Sunday, in what appeared to be an intentional attempt to join a rebel group there.
Military officials said a 23-year-old from an Arab town in Israel planned the maneuver with the intent of joining Syrian rebel fighters. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the still-under-investigation case with the media.
Dozens of Arab citizens of Israel have sneaked into Syria in recent years to join the civil war. This would appear to be the first case of someone doing so via air.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his Cabinet Sunday that he would work to revoke the man's citizenship.
"Whoever joins the enemy's ranks to fight Israel will not be an Israeli citizen," Netanyahu said.
Initially, there was a concern that an Israeli citizen had been accidently swept into Syria by the winds and captured by one of the rebel groups there. Such a scenario would have put Israel is a dire situation of having to reclaim a hostage. Israeli forces launched a search for the man late Saturday.