Israeli soldier view the Israeli-Syrian border from Mt. Bental overlooking the Israel annexed Golan Heights. Gun fire and mortars have periodically crossed the border as a result of the ongoing civil war in Syria. Photo by Debbie Hill/ UPI | License Photo
GOLAN HEIGHTS, Israel, Nov. 27 (UPI) -- Four militants are dead after Israeli forces responded to a barrage of bullets hailed from across the border in Syria.
The killed militants were members of a local terror cell liked with the Islamic State. The Khalid ibn al-Walid Army is comprised of several jihadist factions, all of whom have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State. They control a small portion of Syria southeast of Golan Heights.
The Israeli Air Force took out the Islamic State combatants with a series of air strikes after the terrorists fired weapons across the border at a military outpost in southern Golan Heights.
Several mortar shells exploded across the border before Israeli forces spotted a heavily armed vehicle. Israeli soldiers returned fire before IAF bombs struck the vehicle and killed the four operatives. No Israeli soldiers were injured during the exchange.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commended the soldiers at a special cabinet meeting, but offered no new details about the incident.
"We are well prepared on our northern border, and will not let Daesh or any other group a foothold for their war in Syria," Netanyahu said.
Mortar and projectile fire have previously spilled across the border in the Golan Heights as a result of the ongoing civil war in Syria, but the latest attack appeared to be have purposefully directed at Israel.
"The Israeli forces didn't lie in ambush by chance," a senior military officials told Haaretz.
Nitzan Nuriel, a counterterrorism expert and former brigadier general with the IDF, told the Washington Post he didn't think that attack signaled a new ISIS-directed campaign against Israel.
"I think the decision to open fire against our soldiers was a local decision," he said. "It was not something ordered by a high command."
Israeli officials have asked locals to momentarily evacuate the border area near the recent attack.