Senior IDF officer: ISIS is our enemy

While Iran and Hezbollah remain the primary threat on Israel, the IDF is preparing to confront ISIS as well.

By: AP and United with Israel Staff
IDF

IDF forces in training. (IDF)

A top Israeli general said Wednesday that the Islamic State (ISIS) terror group is “our enemy” and that Israel is sharing intelligence with allies battling the terrorists despite remaining on the sidelines of Syria’s civil war.

Maj. Gen. Nitzan Alon said that while Iran remains the greatest threat to Israel, ISIS is also a dangerous adversary.

Israel has kept its distance from the civil war on its northern doorstep, wary of appearing to side with any of the warring parties — nearly all of which are hostile to it.

But Alon, who heads the military’s operations branch, told reporters that Israel is essentially part of the international coalition against IS and shares intelligence with its allies.

“From Israel’s perspective, we definitely see Daesh as an enemy,” he said, using the Arabic acronym for ISIS.

Although ISIS has yet to strike Israel from Syria, the terror group’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in December threatened “we haven’t forgotten you” and “we are getting closer to you” every day. He said Israeli Jews “will hide behind trees and stones.”

Furthermore, ISIS’ affiliate in the Sinai has launched attacks against Israel.

Israel is bitter enemies with President Bashar Assad’s government in Syria, which is backed by Iran and is a major sponsor of the Lebanese Hezbollah movement. But Israel also fears Islamic factions among the ranks of the Syrian rebels.

Israel has stayed out of the Syrian war, except for returning occasional cross-border fire. It is also widely believed to have carried out airstrikes to prevent Syria’s advanced weaponry from falling into the hands of militants.

Alon said the international coalition against ISIS was making gains, but he anticipates a long struggle.

“I don’t think that Daesh will collapse in the coming months or year,” he said. “It won’t be easy. Not short and not easy.”

Israel has recently concluded a massive drill on its northern border with simulated a full-blown war on multiple fronts, including attacks by ISIS.