The Israeli military said it killed four militants linked to the Islamic State on Sunday after IS members attacked Israeli forces in the Golan Heights. The Israeli Air Force subsequently targeted an IS-held location in response to the attack.
The confrontation was the first of its kind between Israel and Islamic State-affiliated forces based in Syria.
IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner described the exchange as “unique” in magnitude.
On Sunday, Israeli soldiers were targeted with machine gun fire and mortars and they shot back, before the air force bombed the vehicle carrying the gunmen identified as members of “Shuhada al-Yarmouk, an IS affiliate”.
Some 10 tonnes of explosives were said to have been dropped by the Israeli Air Force in an additional retaliatory strike on an abandoned United Nations building being used as an “operations centre” by Islamic State.
The IDF spokesman said: “The IDF will continue to act to protect the citizens of Israel while maintaining the IDF’s freedom of action within the sovereign territory of Israel, and will not hesitate to act against the terrorist organisations operating against it”.
Since the beginning of the internal Syrian conflict in 2011, stray fire from government and rebel forces has hit Israel, as have attacks by the Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah and its affiliates.