IDF airstrike said to kill 7 terrorists in Syria close to Israeli border

Source: IDF airstrike said to kill 7 terrorists in Syria close to Israeli border | The Times of Israel

Fighters were en route to attack Israel according to army, which retrieved explosive belts, Kalashnikov rifle during subsequent search of area

A picture taken from the Israeli Golan Heights shows a smoke plume rising during air strikes backing a Syrian-government-led offensive in the southwestern province of Daraa,  July 23, 2018. (JALAA MAREY/AFP)

A picture taken from the Israeli Golan Heights shows a smoke plume rising during air strikes backing a Syrian-government-led offensive in the southwestern province of Daraa, July 23, 2018. (JALAA MAREY/AFP)

Seven armed terrorists were said to have been killed late Wednesday in an IDF airstrike in Syria, close to the border with Israel.

The IDF confirmed Thursday that it targeted a number of “terror squads” in the Syrian Golan Heights and that explosive belts along with a Kalashnikov rifle were found during searches of the area Thursday morning.

The army did not elaborate on the affiliation of the terrorists, on how soldiers managed to retrieve the weapons, and how many of them were killed.

However, Arab media reported that seven were killed in the strike.

IDF spokesman Ronen Manelis said the gunmen were members of the Islamic State group and had been less than 700 feet from the border when they were targeted.

The Kalashnikov rifle retrieved by Israel following an air strike against gunmen in the Syrian Golan Heights. (IDF)

According to Army Radio, the gunmen had been en route to an attack on Israel.

Manelis stated that there had been no threat to Israeli communities along the northern border, but he did not elaborate whether the IS gunmen were intending to attack Israeli military targets.

The Russia’s Interfax news agency reported that Russian military police would be deploying along the border between Syria and Israel to prevent further escalation between the sides.

The air raid took place as the IDF was completing a large-scale drill of war scenarios testing the preparedness of the the Northern Command and the General Staff.

The army stressed that the exercise had been planned in advance as part of its training program for 2018.

However, it came just a week after Israeli aircraft destroyed a rocket launcher belonging, according to the army, to the Islamic State after it fired a pair of projectiles at Israel that landed in the Sea of Galilee.

The IDF said the rockets had been errant fire from internal Syrian fighting, but some analysts have argued that it was an intentional move by IS to lure Israel into a clash with the Syrian army.

A day prior, a Sukhoi-model jet had traveled two kilometers into Israeli airspace when the IDF said it fired two Patriot missiles at the plane, shooting it down. The plane crashed inside Syria, killing its pilot.

According to the IDF, the fighter jet took off from the Iran-linked T-4 air force base in central Syria, which Israel has bombed in the past, and traveled “at high speed” toward the Golan Heights.

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