Israel bombs Isis base in revenge attack after jihadis target IDF soldiers for first time

An Israeli front is 'the last thing IS needs', former counterterrorism director says

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The Independent Online

The Israeli military says its air force has bombed an Isis base in revenge for an attack on IDF soldiers.

The overnight air strike targeted an abandoned United Nations building Israel said was used as an "operations centre" in the Golan Heights. 

It said the building was the "base for yesterday's attack," believed to be the first direct clash between the country and the terror group.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or deaths.

israel-golan-heights.jpg
Israel seized 1,200 square kilometres (460 square miles) of the Golan from Syria in the Six-Day War of 1967 and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the international community (Reuters)

Soldiers from the Golani Brigade returned fire on Sunday after they were attacked by Isis gunmen with machine guns and mortars.

Israeli aircraft quickly responded, killing four militants in an air strike on a machine gun-armed car.

The gunmen were identified as members of "Shuhada al-Yarmouk," or the Yarmouk Martyrs' Brigade, a Syrian rebel group which has pledged allegiance to Isis.

No Israeli soldiers were injured in the ambush.

However, the former director of Israel's Counter Terrorism Bureau said the attack is unlikely to mark a change in strategy for Isis.

Retired general Nitzan Nuriel said it was likely "a local decision" not emanating from a higher echelon of the group.

"They know exactly what the Israeli response" would be to attacks, he said. An Israeli front is "the last thing IS needs at this stage," he added.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commended the troops for "successfully repelled an attempted attack".

"Our forces are prepared on our northern border, and we won't let Islamic State elements or other hostile elements use the cover of the war in Syria to establish themselves next to our borders," he said at his weekly Cabinet meeting.

Kurds capture Isis fighter

Israel seized 1,200 square kilometres (460 square miles) of the Golan from Syria in the Six-Day War of 1967 and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the international community.

The two countries are still technically at war, though the border remained largely quiet for decades until 2011.

Since then, regular stray missiles have landed in Israeli border areas, but rebel groups and Syrian government forces have largely avoided directly targeting Israeli forces.

While avoiding being drawn into the internal Syrian conflict, Israel attacks Syrian military targets when fire, even unintentional, spills over the demarcation line.

Additional reporting by agencies

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