The Israel Defense Forces are preparing for the possibility of a substantial terrorist attack on the Israel-Syria border carried out by extremist jihadists, including a branch of the Islamic State, following recent terror attacks in Sinai and Paris.
According to IDF intelligence assessments, the group Shuhada al-Yarmouk (“The Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade”) currently controls the area where three national borders meet in the southern Golan Heights, in territory estimated at about ten square kilometers. The defense establishment considers the group as an extension of sorts of ISIS, focusing currently on facing another Islamist rebel organization, Jabhat al-Nusra.
According to a situation assessment by the IDF Northern Command, it is possible that one of these groups could carry out a strategic attack in the border region. Although defense sources believe that such an attack was possible, they expressed doubt that it would be committed in the near future.
Following the series of ISIS-inspired terrorist attacks in France, the United States and Sinai, IDF sources expressed the view that these attacks reflect a strategic change in the operational methods of global jihad, focusing on attacking Western targets. One of the scenarios raised in the IDF when it comes to a “strategic terrorist attack” is managing to get a vehicle packed with explosives to be detonated in Israeli territory. So, for example, the Northern Command views the Golan Heights border crossing at Quneitra as a potential weak spot that could be a target for an attack of this kind. Officers in the field on the Golan front make a distinction between a “tactical” attack and an ISIS-style attack.