In a curious incident that is certain to provoke questions about the proximity, not to mention fund flow, between Israel and ISIS the former Israeli Defense Minister, cited by the Times of Israel, said that Islamic State terrorists have on at least one occasion “apologized” to Israel for mistakenly attacking IDF soldiers in the occupied Golan Heights. The disclosure may also provide some insight into why after reportedly attacking virtually every religion and ethnicity in the region, there have been virtually no documented attacks by the Islamic State on Israel or its citizens.
Discussing the wider Israeli policy of “neutrality” in Syria, former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon accidentally admitted that Israel has an open communications channel with an Islamic State cell which operates in Gollan Heights.
“There was one case recently where Daesh opened fire and apologized,” Ya’alon said on Saturday, quoted by the Times of Israel.
Asked to expand on his controversial statement, Ya’alon’s office refused to elaborate. The IDF also declined to comment. Under Israeli law, any communication with terrorists is considered illegal, unless of course the Israel state covertly does not consider ISIS terrorists.
Ya’alon served as Israel's Defense Minister from 2013 until his resignation in May 2016, and his comments were reportedly referring to the first direct incident involving clashes between Israel and Islamic State terrorists. In that incident which took place last November, the Shuhada al-Yarmouk cell, which has pledged allegiance to ISIS, exchanged fire with Israeli forces after the IDF's Golani Brigade crossed the security fence with Syria to conduct an “ambush operation.”
While the official Israeli position is pursuing neutrality in the Syrian conflict, Tel Aviv has on several occasions engaged Syrian military targets in Syria - most recently on Wednesday - usually under the pretext of preventing the alleged transfer of weapons to Hezbollah, considered a terrorist group by Israel. Last month, Tel Aviv confirmed conducting airstrikes on several targets in Syria, after Damascus activated its air defense system against the IDF jets.
While Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has justified the repeated incursions, explaining that IDF planes targeted a Hezbollah weapons convoy, Damascus has said that the Israeli strikes only benefit the Islamic State and other terrorist groups. Earlier this month the Syrian President Bashar Assad once again blamed Israel of helping militants terrorizing his country.
"You can assume that these terrorists are fighting for Israel. If they aren't part of the regular Israeli army, they're fighting for Israel. Israel has common goals with Turkey, the United States, France, Britain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other countries,” Ynet quoted Assad as as saying.
“Israel is working on helping these terrorists wherever the Syrian army is advancing. It attacks in one form or another to provide them with assistance, and to stop the Syrian army’s momentum in the face of the terrorists,” the Syrian leader added.
In light of Ya'alon's comments, Assad may have been right.