Former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon on Saturday said the Islamic State terrorist group in the Syrian Golan Heights “apologized” for attacking an Israeli unit.
“There was one case recently where Daesh opened fire and apologized,” Ya’alon said, using the terror group’s Arabic nickname.
This was an apparent reference to a clash that took place near the Syrian border last November, in which IDF troops exchanged fire with members of the Islamic State affiliate. After a brief gun battle, the Israeli military attacked the terrorist group with airstrikes and tank fire, killing four of them.
Israel and much of the Western world considers the Islamic State affiliate in the Syrian Golan Heights, known as the Khalid ibn al-Walid Army, to be a terrorist group. Communication with them is technically illegal under Israeli law, constituting contact with an enemy agent.
Ya’alon was speaking at an event in the northern city of Afula. He was interviewed on stage by Eli Levi, a Channel 10 news correspondent.
His comment about the Islamic State’s apology was made as part of a broader point about Israel’s policy for Syria, which is largely non-interventionist.
Ya’alon was explaining that Israel carries out strikes against Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces in retaliation when spillover fire hits the Israeli Golan Heights.
Ya’alon’s officer refused to elaborate on how exactly the Islamic State expressed its apology to Israel after the attack. The IDF also declined to comment.
Syrian officials have accused Israel of directly aiding the Islamic State and other rebel groups, a claim Jerusalem vociferously denies.