Israeli Airstrikes Target ISIS Facility in Syria, Hours After First Direct Clashes in Golan Heights

Compound hit by Israel Air Force was once manned by UN troops before it became the base of operations for ISIS affiliate Shuhada al-Yarmouk.

An Israeli tank in the Golan Heights on November 27, 2016.
Gil Eliahu

Israeli airstrikes targeted a facility controlled by ISIS fighters in the Syrian Golan Heights Sunday night, according to the IDF spokesperson's unit.

The Israeli army said that the military action, in which the air force dropped ten one-ton bombs, was a continued response to an incident earlier on Sunday when ISIS fighters fired on Israeli troops, resulting in an Israeli airstrike that most likely killed four of the militants.

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The compound attacked Sunday night was once manned, before being abandoned, by the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), which held territory along the Israeli-Syrian border in order to protect the cease-fire between the two countries.

ISIS militants were engaged in training at the site at the time of the airstrikes.

According to the Israeli army, the compound served as a base of operations for ISIS' offshoot in the Golan, the Shuhada al-Yarmouk group, in its attack on Israeli troops Sunday morning. The IDF said that the airstrikes are meant to "prevent the return of terrorists to a facility that constitutes a fundamental threat to the region.

Armed militants from the Shuhada al-Yarmouk group, which pledged allegiance to ISIS sometime after its founding in 2012, exchanged fire with Israeli troops on Sunday morning, and the IDF said that Israeli aircraft destroyed a technical (a small pickup truck armed with a heavy machine gun).

No Israeli soldiers were wounded and four militants who were killed in the technical, which was struck several hundred meters across the border in Syria.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the incident in a cabinet meeting in Haifa, saying, "We won't let ISIS establish themselves on our borders because of the war in Syria."

A Syrian opposition figure told Haaretz that the attack was an attempt to get Israel actively involved in Syrian territory, shuffle the deck, and perhaps change the situation.

The incident occurred as troops from the Golani brigade were carrying out an ambush on the Syrian side of the border fence, but in an enclave considered Israeli territory.