Seven Islamic State terrorists were killed in an Israeli attack overnight Wednesday in Syria's Golan Heights.
The terrorists came as close to 200 meters to the Israel-Syria border when Israeli troops launched an attack against them, Israel Defense Forces Spokesman Ronen Manelis said.
The group was fleeing fighting against the Assad regime, the IDF noted, adding that it found five firearms and belts containing explosive devices. The military said it has been following the cell in question for a while and that it is on high alert and ready to protect residents of northern Israel.
Separately, the Jordanian military said it also struck armed Islamic State terrorists who attempted to cross the border between Jordan and Syria on Thursday. The Jordanian statement came shortly after the Syrian military announced that its forces were chasing after members of Islamic State who had fled villages in Syria that the regime had overtaken Wednesday.
Meanwhile, in a major change to the pre-conflict 2011 status quo, Russian military police began deploying on the Syrian-held Golan and planned to set up eight observation posts in the area, the Defense Ministry in Moscow said.
According to the ministry, UN peacekeepers also returned to the frontier Thursday, years after an escalation in fighting and abduction of UN troops had prompted them to withdraw. For the first time, Russian forces joined the peacekeepers — a sign of Russia's deepening involvement as a mediator between Israel and Syria.
On Wednesday, Russia's envoy to Syria said that Iranian forces have withdrawn their heavy weapons to a distance of 85 kilometers (53 miles) from the Golan Heights frontier between Israel and Syria.
"The Iranians withdrew and the Shi'ite formations are not there," the agency quoted Alexander Lavrentiev, President Vladimir Putin's special envoy to Syria, as saying.
Lavrentiev said Iranian service personnel, whom he described as advisers, could be among Syrian army forces that remain closer to the Israeli border.
On Monday, the Syrian government retook the frontier with the Golan after Islamic State-linked militants gave up their last pocket of territory in the area, state media and an opposition-linked war-monitoring group reported.
AP contributed to this report.
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