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Israel and ISIS...

“There are more Swedes than Israelis fighting with Daesh,” says an Israeli intelligence man. Others say they are confident that Israel’s security service is better than its European counterparts at monitoring IS activity in its own territory.

       

From the military observation points overlooking the spot where Israel’s frontiers meet those of Syria and Jordan, Israelis can clearly see the positions of Liwa Shuhada al-Yarmouk—the Yarmouk Martyrs’ Brigade. It is only one of many dozens of Syrian rebel groups, yet Israeli officers half-jokingly describe the fighters, mainly Syrians from nearby villages, as “Daesh lite”. The brigade, which may have between 600 and 1,000 men, has sworn allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the “Caliph” of Islamic State (IS), also known by its Arabic acronym, Daesh. The black flag of IS forms part of its logo.

 

Israelis are worried that, as IS is pushed back in other parts of Syria and Iraq, its leaders may decide to take over the Yarmouk Martyrs’ Brigade and use its bases for attacks on Israel or Jordan.

 

IS has yet to attack Israel. Its main forces in southern Syria are about 80km (50 miles) from Israel’s borders.

 

The Israelis are also worried that radical Palestinians who are citizens of Israel may be working for IS. So far they reckon that about 50 of them have gone to Syria to join IS.

Research, arrests, witnesses, open and classified analysis all indicate clearly that IS’s popularity is growing and that even Israeli Arabs are actually joining up with it.” Vigilance along Israel’s borders may not be enough. Subscribe to the Economist to read the full content.

February, 7, 2016

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