A Jerusalem district court has indicted a Palestinian from east Jerusalem on charges of traveling to Syria to join and fight with the Islamic State militant group.

The Shin Bet security service says Khalil Khalil, born in 1990, had joined a gym at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem to physically prepare for the mission.

The agency says he told his family he was going on a religious pilgrimage to Mecca, but instead, he and a friend flew to Istanbul in January and then traveled to a safe house in southern Turkey. From there, smugglers brought them to Syria.

Khalil returned after a few weeks and was later arrested by the Shin Bet.

It says about 40 Palestinians and Arab-Israeli citizens have gone to fight with militant groups in Syria.