The Israel Air Force killed four ISIS terrorists on Sunday morning after launching a retaliatory strike just minutes after mortars and gunshots were fired in Israel's direction from Syria. No other injuries were reported in the incident.
The skirmish began when a unit of the IDF Golani Brigade was in the middle of conducting an ambush operation as it crossed the fence while remaining in Israeli territory near the moshav of Nov. The soldiers came under fire by the terrorists from a heavy machine gun-mounted vehicle.
Shortly after the gunshots were reported, prompting the soldiers to return fire, a number of mortar shells were also fired in Israel's direction from the Syrian side of the Golan Heights which landed near the security fence. Moments later, the IAF reported it had liquidated all four terrorists.
A senior IDF official praised the swift Israeli response: “The response was sharp and swift and was intended to send a message that we are in the area and are determined to protect our border. The IDF’s response took place within minutes.” the official said. “We have no intention of escalating matters in the area but we will not accept a reality in which forces open fire in our direction.”
At his weekly cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu echoed these reflections. "We are well prepared on our northern border and will not allow Islamic State elements or any other hostile elements to use the war in Syria to establish themselves close to our borders," he said.
The incident breaks with usual patterns of similar incidents which have taken place over recent weeks in which fighting between rebel forces and the Syrian regime is usually presumed to be the cause of stray mortars and bullets, rather than deliberate attacks by ISIS terrorists.
Nevertheless, the assault on Israeli territory does come against a background of renewed fighting between rebel forces and the Syrian army commanded by President Bashar al-Assad.
Indeed, on Saturday rebel forces announced an operation designed to lift the regime’s siege on areas controlled by the rebels.
The new leader of the ISIS branch in the Golan is Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi who replaced his predecessor who was killed in a car bomb in Yarmouk Camp on October 18.