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PM: World leaders must do more to fight Islamic State

Netanyahu says jihadists have sent shock waves across the globe, must be fought with a determination that matches the threat

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on December 27, 2015. (Marc Israel Sellem/Pool)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on December 27, 2015. (Marc Israel Sellem/Pool)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday called on world leaders to step up attacks against the Islamic State group, saying the jihadists have sent “shock waves” across the globe that will not stop on their own.

“The threat to our civilization from Islam has two branches, the Iran-led Shiite and the Islamic State-led Sunni,” Netanyahu said, during a ceremony to mark the graduation of Israeli Air Force pilots at the IAF’s Hatzerim base in the Negev.

“The earthquake wrought in our region by both of these strains sends shock waves through distant continents and nations,” he said. “I predict that these shock waves, which threaten stability wherever they reach, will only be exacerbated. These shock waves will not stop of their own accord.

“The only thing that can stop them is for the governments of the free world to internalize the severity of the danger, and respond with determination that is commensurate with the severity of the threat. This has perhaps started to happen, but still not fully.”

Brand new Israel Air Force pilots salute during the ceremony in which they receive their 'wings' and switch from being cadets to full-fledged pilots at the IDF's Hatzerim air force base near Beersheba on December 31, 2015. (IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
Brand new Israel Air Force pilots salute during the ceremony in which they receive their ‘wings’ and switch from being cadets to full-fledged pilots at the IDF’s Hatzerim air force base near Beersheba on December 31, 2015. (IDF Spokesperson’s Unit)

Speaking at the same ceremony, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon warned that Israel’s enemies should beware of the long reach of the Jewish state’s military.

“The ability of our aircraft to reach any place, at any time, and strike those who wish us ill who relentlessly try to disrupt the lives of Israeli citizens — through terror attacks or the smuggling of advanced weaponry — is an ability with enormous value to our national security,” he said.

Defense Moshe Ya'alon speaks during a joint press conference in Jerusalem on November 18, 2015. (Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Defense Moshe Ya’alon speaks during a joint press conference in Jerusalem on November 18, 2015. (Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

“Even now our enemies know that if they even try to harm us, we will hit back with force, and we will do so by any means we find appropriate — by air, sea and land,” the defense minister continued.

“We have no intention of compromising on the security of the citizens of Israel, and the terror organizations on the other side of our border, any border, should not test us. We will act with great determination, but also with wisdom and responsibility.”

A US-led coalition has been carrying out strikes on IS targets in Iraq and Syria, while Russia in September began its own assault on the extremist group’s presence in Syria. Critics of the Russian operation claim, however, that it is also targeting Syrian opposition forces as part of efforts to shore up its beleaguered ally, Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The IDF warned Wednesday that a small but violent offshoot of the Islamic State has taken root just north of the Israeli-Syrian border and may be planning to carry out large-scale terror attacks against Israel.

The group, Shuhda al-Yarmouk, which the army believes comprises of approximately 600 fighters, has taken up a position approximately 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) away from Israel within the Syrian Golan Heights.

Despite the terror organization’s relatively small size, the IS-affiliated group possesses vast stores of weapons and poses a legitimate threat to Israel, a high ranking army officer told journalists.

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