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Israel carried out strikes on IS targets in Syria, elsewhere in region: report

A burnt-out vehicle is seen next to the Islamic State group's flag on the outskirts of the Syrian city of Raqa on June 11, 2017
George OURFALIAN (AFP/File)

The Israeli Air Force (IAF) has conducted an unspecified number of strikes against Islamic State targets in Syria in recent years, according to a report from the Israeli Kan broadcaster.

Israel has reportedly been involved in the fight against IS in more ways than just sharing intelligence with the Western coalition fighting the jihadist network. According to the report, Israel has carried out operations against IS targets not only in Syria but possibly in Egypt's Sinai as well.

The report comes just two days after outgoing IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot said he “could now say” that Israel has played a critical role in the fight against IS and other extremist groups in the region.

Speaking at a conference at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Eizenkot summarized the last four years of IDF activity.

“The [Israeli] campaign against Iran and Hezbollah is largely hidden from the public eye,” he said.

VIKTOR DRACHEV (AFP/File)

“Israel is operating and will continue to operate against Iranian entrenchment in Syria,” the outgoing Israeli army head said. “Iran’s efforts to establish a military infrastructure in Syria have been the IDF’s top concern for the past four years.”

“Iran’s vision was to build a force of about 100,000 fighters with integrated land, sea, and intelligence capabilities and to build a line of outposts in the Golan Heights,” Eizenkot said. Israel “has worked continuously and has thwarted Iran’s efforts, in an entirely independent Israeli operation against a whole gamut of actors.”

Eizenkot continued to say there are over 20,000 Hezbollah operatives in Syria, warranted “hundreds” of operations and strikes carried out by Israel in recent years.

The military leader then turned to Israel’s role in combating threats posed by the Islamic State throughout the Middle East. “I couldn’t say this before… that Israel is a major reason for the decline of the Islamic State. (I couldn’t say) in 2015, 2016, or 2017, but I can now say that Israel has contributed to the group’s declining influence,” Eizenkot said.

This is a developing story.

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