Netanyahu: Israel Will Respond Forcefully to ISIS Border Threat
JNS.org – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel will not allow any radical jihadist group to get a foothold on the Jewish state’s borders and that attempts to attack IDF troops will be met with a “forceful response.”
Netanyahu made his comments following two Israeli Air Force (IAF) strikes on Islamic State targets in Syria earlier this week.
“We continue to monitor the situation closely and we will enforce the policy I have set: We will not tolerate sporadic fire, we will respond forcefully to any incident, and if need be — we will strike our enemies before they attack us. We will not allow radical Islam or any other hostile element to impose a terrorist front on us in the Golan Heights,” Netanyahu said.
The IAF killed four ISIS operatives Sunday after the terrorists fired mortars and artillery on troops from the elite Golani Brigade who were patrolling the Israel-Syria border. Monday’s strike targeted an Islamic State post on the southern edge of the Syrian Golan Heights, a site once used by the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force as a military installation in the buffer zone between Israel and Syria. The IAF dropped ten one-ton bomb on the location, leveling the facility and destroying weapons stored there.
“[We] exacted a heavy price from our enemies,” the prime minister added.
Speaking at a Yisrael Beiteinu party meeting after the strikes, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said, “This is actually the first time when we’ve encountered an attack by an Islamic State-affiliated cell on our soldiers. We responded the way we always do — in a forceful way.”
“Let me be clear: We will respond to any provocation, regardless if it is from the Gaza Strip or anywhere else,” Lieberman added.
The defense minister noted that the IAF does not need to coordinate its operations with Russia, whose air force is involved in the civil war in Syria.
In September 2015, Netanyahu met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, where the two leaders agreed to set up a mechanism to prevent unintended friction between the Israeli and Russian militaries in light of Russia’s growing military presence in Syria.
“There’s no need to coordinate [Israel’s current operations] with anyone,” Lieberman said. “Any attack on Israeli soldiers in Israel’s sovereign territory is met with a forceful response. Once we identify the source of the fire, we respond. When we don’t identify the source, [Syrian President Bashar] Assad’s regime is the one responsible. In this case, we identified an Islamic State cell firing from a certain location, [and we] fired and destroyed their post.”
An IDF Spokesperson said that the Israeli strikes “aimed to prevent the terrorists from becoming a substantial threat in the area. The IDF will continue to spare no effort to defend the Israeli public while maintaining the military’s freedom of operation in Israel’s sovereign territory, and it will not hesitate to counteract terrorist organizations threatening Israel.”