Israel bombs alleged IS militant hideout in Syria

The soldiers, from the Golani Brigade, were beyond the fence separating Israeli-occupied Golan from Syria but on Israeli territory, Lerner told AFP, noting that none were wounded in the clash. No Israeli operatives were harmed in the gun fight that ensued, and the fighting ended when a warplane flew over and bombed the extremists' auto.

Terrorists in Syria's south opened fire on a military patrol on the Israeli side of the Golan Heights and fired several mortar shells, before an Israeli aircraft took to the skies and struck a gun-mounted vehicle carrying four jihadis inside Syria. "IDF returned fire and successfully targeted the cell", an Israeli Defense Force spokesperson tweeted. "No injuries were sustained by IDF forces'".

Until now, though, there had been little direct engagement with the jihadi forces who control the southern section of the frontier with Syria and have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS or ISIL. "There were previous cases of fire from the Syrian side to the Israeli side, but in most cases it was a mistake".

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The military said the militants were fighting for the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade, which the USA designated a terrorist organization in June after the group pledged allegiance to Islamic State. Even so, there has been escalating violence recently on the border, and Israel has committed to operations against Hezbollah, which has provided aid to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

Doctors in the main hospital treating trauma victims from the battle for Mosul say they are overflowing with casualties, both civilians and soldiers. Israel fired back across to Syria in response.

Amos Yadin, the former head of IDF Intelligence and current director of the Institute for National Security Studies, said he believed the attack may have been an effort to win a propaganda victory for an embattled IS. In Iraq, a US-backed coalition has been working to dislodge Islamic State from their last stronghold in the country, the city of Mosul.

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And whether intentionally or not, the fighting in the Syrian Golan Heights has occasionally spilled over into the Israeli-held part.

So far, the Jewish state was largely unaffected by the next-door Syrian civil war and suffered only sporadic incidents that Israel generally dismissed and responded lightly.

Israel acquired the Golan Heights in 1967, and applied Israeli law in 1981, an equivalent move to annexation.

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