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November 28, 2016 3:10 pm

In Wake of Clash With ISIS Along Syrian Border, IDF Spurred to Create Additional Commando Brigade

avatar by Ruthie Blum

An Oz Brigade commando during an exercise. Photo: IDF Spokesman.

An Oz Brigade commando during an exercise. Photo: IDF Spokesman.

The clash between IDF troops and ISIS-affiliated fighters along the Syrian border on Sunday, which resulted in the killing of four of the terrorists, reinforced the imperative for what the Israeli army’s top brass has been considering — the creation of a new special commando brigade, similar to another one that was established last year to counter mounting threats against the Jewish state, the Hebrew news site Walla reported on Monday.

According to the report, IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot ordered an examination into the possibility of assembling an elite brigade like Oz, which was officially launched in December 2015. A review of the exercises conducted by Oz commandos since then revealed their ability to shift swiftly from routine activity to deployment deep into enemy territory — something that puts the brigade at a significant advantage over the rest of its infantry counterparts.

As was reported in The Algemeiner upon its inauguration, Oz consists of four elite units: Maglan, Duvdevan, Egoz and Rimon. At the time, Eizenkot said its establishment was crucial to countering the threat of ISIS and other terrorist groups, particularly the Lebanon-based Hezbollah, which has been operating in Syria on behalf of President Bashar Assad’s forces.

Speaking at its opening ceremony, Eizenkot said, “Looking to the north and seeing the brazen statements made [by Hezbollah] and the overall atmosphere from Lebanon, the threats made by Islamic State commanders in Iraq and Syria, the security escalation we have been dealing with in Judea and Samaria, and the threats on the southern front, we must make the most of our abilities.”

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Sunday’s attack on the Syrian border was the first of its kind, according to the Hebrew news site nrg. Up until the incident — during which operatives from the Khaled Ibn al-Walid Brigade (formerly known as the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade) opened fire at a Golani Brigade patrol at around 8:30 a.m. — IDF forces in the southern Golan Heights had not been targeted by rebel groups. Previous incidents mostly involved errant fire from the Syrian civil war.

The IDF returned fire from the ground, and an Israel Air Force missile destroyed the vehicle from which the terrorists were firing, killing all four of them.

Israeli jets early Monday morning then launched a retaliatory strike on an ISIS facility in the Syrian part of the Golan.

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