JERUSALEM, Israel – The Islamic State's setbacks in Iraq and Syria is putting Israel in the crosshairs, U.S. Special Envoy to the anti-ISIS coalition Brett McGurk told a congressional committee on Tuesday.
"ISIL's [Islamic State] media statements in recent months, as they suffer losses on the battlefield, have focused on Israel as a target, clearly hoping to generate international headlines to compensate for its defeats," McGurk told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Russia's Sputnick News reported.
While ISIS has yet to target Israel directly, the IDF is aware of its presence on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights. Israeli forces have been training for an attack for some time now. ISIS also has terror cells embedded in the Sinai.
But McGurk says the terror group's propaganda is no longer dominating the news, which could mean it is losing ground, literally and figuratively.
The anti-ISIS campaign on the other hand is gaining ground, with increasing numbers of groups speaking out against it.
"For every pro-Daesh Twitter handle, there are now six calling out its lies and countering its message," McGurk said.
The U.S. Cyber Command, headquartered at Fort Meade in Maryland, has been working to curb ISIS' access to the Internet and social media, which it has actively used in the past to recruit people to its cause.
Meanwhile, an Israeli Arab attempting to join ISIS was taken into custody at Ben Gurion International Airport earlier this month.
Details of the sting operation were cleared for publication Wednesday.
Turkish authorities arrested Ibrahim Hassan Yusef Agbariya, 23, in a city near Turkey's border with Syria and extradited him to Israel a few days later.
Investigators said the would-be jihadist left his family a note explaining his plan and that several of his acquaintances supported his desire to go to Syria.
Like many others, Agbariya was drawn to ISIS via the Internet and social media.