Israel Says It Killed Suspected Islamic State-Linked Militants

UN peacekeepers return after 4 years to Israel-occupied Golan Heights near Syria

Most of the Golan Heights have been occupied by Israel since the 1967 war.

Iranian forces have withdrawn their heavy weapons in Syria to a distance of 85 km from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, TASS quoted a Russian envoy as saying on Wednesday, but Israel deemed the pullback inadequate.

"As the situation stabilizes, these posts will be handed over to Syrian government forces", Rudskoy told reporters.

Meanwhile, in a major change to the pre-conflict 2011 status quo, Russian military police began deploying alongside returning United Nations peacekeepers on the Syrian-held Golan and planned to set up eight observation posts in the area, the Defense Ministry in Moscow said.

It is a rare attack by Israel on militants in the area, recently retaken by Syrian forces from IS and rebels.

The move comes as Russian Federation continues to become more involved in Middle Eastern affairs after its military backing of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

For quiet to hold, Lieberman said, Syria must abide by a 1974 UN-monitored armistice that set up demilitarized zones on the Golan.

The situation on the ground and an interview with the Russian ambassador in Israel made it clear Russia has no intention to assist Israel in its war against the Iranian military build-up in Syria despite promises Russian military police would prevent Iran from approaching the Israeli border on the Golan Heights.

Assad's sweep of southwest Syria drove hundreds of thousands of refugees toward Israel and Jordan, alarming both.

Israel has sought to avoid direct involvement in the Syrian conflict but acknowledges carrying out dozens of airstrikes there to stop what it says are deliveries of advanced weaponry to Hezbollah. He said a preliminary assessment was that the infiltrators were Islamic State militants.

The Israeli military would not comment on that development.

A series of blistering offensives backed by Moscow and Tehran has forced the fighters out of many of their strongholds, putting Assad's regime back in control of almost two-thirds of the country. Gen. Nitzan Nuriel, former head of the Counterterror Bureau at Israel's Prime Minister's office, said Israel should be on alert in the area because Syrian government troops "from now and a year from now, they will not be able to control those who are trying to attack the State of Israel from that border".

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