Jerusalem/Damsacus: At least four Islamic State militants were killed by Israeli forces in Syria, in what is being called the first direct clash between the country and the jihadi group, the media reported on Monday.
The IS militants opened fire on a military patrol on the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights, a military spokesman was quoted by the Independent online as saying.
Lt Col Peter Lerner said the patrol came under machine gun and mortar fire on Sunday.
They returned fire towards Syria before an Israeli aircraft engaged the militants, striking a machine gun-armed car and killing its passengers.
All of the gunmen were suspected militants from “Shuhada al-Yarmouk”, an IS offshoot which controls the area.
Lerner said none of the Israeli soldiers, from the Golani Brigade, were wounded in the clash.
Later on Sunday, the Israeli Air Force overnight struck a compound used by the militant group inside Syria, the military said in a statement. The attack targeted an abandoned UN building that has been used by the IS as an operation centre along the border in Golan Heights, Xinhua news agency cited the statement as saying.
Several fighter jets took part in the raid, dropping 10 one-ton bombs on the target.
Israel seized 1,200 sq km of the Golan from Syria in the Six-Day War of 1967 and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the international community.
Israel has been largely unaffected by the Syrian civil war next door.
While avoiding being drawn into the internal Syrian conflict, Israel attacks Syrian military targets when fire, even unintentional, spills over the demarcation line.
The Israeli army holds the Syrian government accountable for any fire from its territory, regardless of the source.