Reports: Israel bombed Islamic State positions in southern Syria
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Reports: Israel bombed Islamic State positions in southern Syria

Opposition media claims Israel fired surface-to-surface missiles at terror group positions during rebel offensive

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

Illustrative. Smoke billows in the distance following reported air strikes on the southern Syrian city of Daraa on February 22, 2017. (Mohamad Abazeed/AFP)
Illustrative. Smoke billows in the distance following reported air strikes on the southern Syrian city of Daraa on February 22, 2017. (Mohamad Abazeed/AFP)

Syrian media reported that Israel targeted several positions belonging to an Islamic State group affiliate in southern Syrian on Thursday.

The alleged airstrikes were said to have taken place during an offensive by rebel groups against the Islamic State-affiliated group, known as the Khalid ibn al-Walid Army, in the area around the city of Daraa.

Zaman Al Wasl, a pro-rebel outlet, quoted local activists as saying the “Israeli Air Force has been pounding [Islamic State] bastions” during the attack.

Additional Syrian opposition outlets specified that four surface-to-surface missiles were launched at Khalid ibn al-Walid Army positions.

This could not be immediately verified.

The Israeli military does not comment on reports of its alleged activities in Syria.

Israel has maintained a public policy of limited intervention in the Syrian civil war.

The prime minister and senior defense officials have said that the country only takes action in Syria when a “red line” is crossed, generally meaning in retaliation to deliberate or accidental attacks on Israel from southern Syria or when advanced weapons are being transferred to the Iran-backed Hezbollah terrorist group.

There have, however, been reports of additional Israeli actions that do not appear to have been in response to a violated “red line.”

Last October, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that Israel conducted airstrikes against the Khalid ibn al-Walid Army, killing 10 people, including two women believed to be the wives of fighters from the faction.

The Observatory offered no evidence that Israel carried out the strike. It relies on a network of sources inside Syria, and says it determines whose planes carry out raids according to type, location, flight patterns, and munitions used.

In November 2016, Israel’s army said it had targeted members of the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade after they fired at an Israeli soldier in the Golan Heights.

The Khalid ibn al-Walid Army was formed in May 2016, and is an alliance of several jihadist groups, the largest of them the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade, which was listed by Washington as a terrorist group.

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