Strategic map published July 2016, illustrating growing threat at Israel's northern borderRecent skirmishes on Israel's northern border are nothing compared to the threat posed by dangerous gains that have been achieved by Islamist terrorists in southern Syria


A flurry of false Hezbollah claims amid rising military tension this week was designed to cover up a direct Israeli hit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards HQ in South Syria, DEBKAfile military and intelligence sources disclose.

Hezbollah, the so-named "party of Allah," is a heavily armed terrorist organization that has merged with the government of Lebanon at Israel's northern border. It is also a known proxy of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Hezbollah and Iranian ground troops are working today in partnership with Russia and the United States to defeat ISIS in Syria. Like Lebanon, Syria too shares a border with Israel.

Whereas Hezbollah reported on July 5 that Israeli helicopters had attacked Syrian army positions near the Golan town of Quneitra, in fact, one of the two Israeli "Tamuz" IDF rockets were fired on July 4. This was in response to stray cross-border Syrian army mortar shells. The Tamuz rockets struck the Syrian Ministry of Finance building near Quneitra which housed Iranian Guards and Hezbollah regional headquarters. An unknown number of Iranian officers were killed as a result.

On July 6, Hezbollah sources reported a high level of tension at its east Lebanese outposts in Hasbaya, al-Qarqoub and Mount Hermon, indicating possible preparations to retaliate for the Iranian casualties.

The mortar shells that occasionally stray into Israel are aimed by the Syrian forces in Quneitra at Syrian rebel engineering units, which are digging an anti-tank trench on the town’s southern edge to prevent Syrian tanks from mounting an all-out assault against them (See illustrated map).

These are just skirmishes. They are nothing compared to the threat posed by dangerous gains that have been achieved by Islamist terrorists in southern Syria.

Both ISIS and al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front have overrun the entire Syrian strip bordering on Israel and Jordan - a distance of 106km [66 ml] from Daraa up to the Israeli Druze villages of Mount Hermon.

The Islamists have seized control of this strategic borderland by taking advantage of the fighting between Syrian army and Syrian rebel forces in southern Syria.

Israel and Jordan are partly responsible. The IDF and the Jordanian Army were so busy trying to prevent the Syrian army, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah from encroaching on their northern defense lines in northern Jordan and the Golan that they failed to notice the Islamic terrorists creeping up on their borders.

The terrorist presence which Israel finds most alarming is that of the “Khaled Bin Al-Walid Army.” It is a militia linked to both ISIS and al-Qaeda which now controls a 36km [22ml] band that borders on central and southern Golan. It extends from south Quneitra to the Jordan-Israel-Syria tri-border area - opposite Hamat Gader and Shaar HaGolan (See illustrated map).

The Khaled Bin Al-Walid Army was spawned by a union between the Islamist Liwa Shouada Yarmouk and Mouthana Islamic Movement militias. The commander of the Khaled Bin Al-Walid Army is is Abu Abdullah al-Madani. He is a Palestinian from Damascus and one of al-Qaeda's veteran fighters. Close to Osama Bin-Laden, al-Madani fought with him against the Americans when they invaded Afghanistan 15 years ago. Ten years ago, he moved to Iraq, still fighting Americans. Today he fights alongside the al-Qaeda commander, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

When al-Qaeda was defeated in Iraq, al-Madani moved to Syria.

DEBKAfile counter-terror sources report that this veteran of Islamist terrorism, who is believed to be in touch with Bin Laden’s successor Ayman al Zawahri, is active in three areas:

1. He is purchasing and stockpiling chemical weapons - a high priced commodity frequently traded among various Syrian rebel organizations.

2. Abu Abdullah al-Madani is recruiting from his militia suicide units for which he is personally training for operations inside Israel. DEBKAfile sources say that his plan is being taken very seriously by Israel security chiefs.

3. He is maintaining operational ties with Al Nusra commanders in the border region, possibly seeking access to the Israeli border through their turf for his chemical weapons and suicide units.


Originally published by DEBKAfile at The second paragraph of this report is an editorial addition by the Jeruslamem Journal.

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