JERUSALEM, Israel – The Israel Defense Forces said on Thursday it had targeted and killed seven "armed terror operatives" just 650 feet from the Israeli border on the Golan Heights.
According to IDF Spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, Israel tracked the terror cell as they approached the fence, striking them before they could infiltrate.
IDF Spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, Photo, CBN News, Jonathan Goff
The terrorists had crossed into Israeli territory but had not yet breached the security fence, Conricus said, indicating the terrorists may have been on the way to attack Israel.
IDF troops found assault rifles, explosives belts and grenades as well as the seven terrorists' remains.
The incident took place on the southern Golan Heights, near the triangle of Syria, Jordan and Israel borders.
The terrorists were dressed partially in military uniforms, leading the IDF to believe they are part of the ISIS unit that is fighting a losing battle on the Syrian Golan Heights, Conricus said.
The IDF suspects the cell, made up of about 300 fighters, may have been behind last week's rocket attack that reached the Sea of Galilee.
"We, the IDF, hold the Syrian regime, the Assad regime, responsible for everything that happens on the Golan Heights and any threat that emanates from the Golan Heights toward Israel.
"The IDF remains, on high readiness, and levels of alert for any threats – be it in the air or on the ground – and we of course remain committed to defend Israeli citizens and Israeli sovereignty," Conricus told journalists.
IDF patrol, Photo, CBN News, Jonathan Goff
Earlier, following a tour of the northern border with Syria, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman told reporters the situation is returning to its pre-Syrian civil war state.
"From our perspective, the situation is returning to how it was before the civil war, meaning there is a real address, someone responsible and central rule," Lieberman said.
The border area on the Golan Heights is supposed to be under United Nations control, according to a 1974 agreement that followed the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
But the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) left the area several years ago as ISIS and rebel groups seized territory there.
According to sources, the UNDOF is gradually starting to take up positions in what used to be the de-militarized zone from the 1974 agreement.