Occupied Jerusalem: Israeli forces killed four gunmen linked to the Daesh after they fired on soldiers Sunday, the military said, in the first such attack on the occupied Golan Heights.
The Israeli soldiers were targeted with machine-gun fire and mortars and they shot back, before the air force bombed the vehicle carrying the gunmen identified as members of “Shuhada al-Yarmouk, a Daesh affiliate”, said spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner.
The soldiers, from the Golani Brigade, were beyond the fence separating Israeli-occupied Golan from Syria but on territory controlled by Israel, Lerner told AFP, noting nobody was wounded in the clash.
Since the beginning of the internal Syrian conflict in 2011, stray fire from government and rebel forces has hit Israel.
Sunday’s clash marked the first time Syria-based militants opened fire on Israeli soldiers on territory under Israeli control, according to a former general.
“A direct attack like that on Israeli activities on Israeli side of the border — this is the first time,” reserves general Nitzan Nuriel told reporters.
The Israeli regime uses the “grey zone” — the term he used to describe “pockets between the fence along the border and the official (demarcation line) between us and our neighbours.”
The former director of Israel’s Counter Terrorism Bureau said the initiative behind the militant attack was “a local decision” and not emanating from a higher echelon, and did not mark a new policy of Daesh attacks on Israeli forces.
“They know exactly what the Israeli response” would be to attacks, Nuriel said. An Israeli front is “the last thing Daesh needs at this stage”.
Israel seized 1,200 square kilometres of the Golan from Syria in the Six-Day War of 1967 and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the international community.