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IDF: Airstrike kills 7 IS gunmen who crossed from Syria into Israeli territory

The IDF said it conducted an airstrike late Wednesday night killing seven Islamic State fighters who had crossed the border into the Israeli Golan Heights.

A number of explosive belts along with a Kalashnikov rifle were found during searches of the area Thursday morning, according to the army.

The gunmen had crossed into the Israeli Golan Heights through the Syria-Jordan-Israel border triangle.

IDF spokesman Jonathan Conricus said the IS fighters had made it roughly 700 feet into Israeli territory when they were targeted.

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.

[Source: By Jacob Magid, The Times of Israel, Tel Aviv, 02Jul18]

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