Israel strike on 'terrorists' near fence in Golan kills seven: army

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Last week, Israeli military forces targeted a Syrian Air Force fighter jet over the Golan Heights as it was flying in Syria's airspace and conducting a series of airstrikes against the positions of foreign-sponsored Takfiri militants in the occupied territories.

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.

Israel said the group was around 200m (656ft) from an Israeli fence in the zone, delineated by Israel and Syria in 1974.

He named them as a strict observance of a 1974 armistice with Syria, not allowing Iran to use Syria as a front against Israel and not allowing Syria to be used as a transit point for advanced arms deliveries to Hezbollah.

When asked whether Israeli forces should be less wary about possible tension in the Golan Heights, the top official answered: "I believe so".

He said the Russian presence there was temporary, and that the observation posts would be handed over to Syrian regime forces once the situation stabilized. The surrounding region has seen heavy fighting recently between pro-government forces and opposition rebels, with the latter surrendering much of the area to the Russian-backed government.

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The area had become particularly volatile in recent weeks amid a Syrian government offensive to retake territories controlled by the opposition adjacent to the frontier.

Assad's sweep of southwest Syria drove hundreds of thousands of refugees toward Israel and Jordan, alarming both. He said a preliminary assessment was that the infiltrators were Islamic State militants.

Chief of the Russian General Staff's Main Operations Directorate, Colonel-General Sergei Rudskoi, reported on Thursday that the control over the Syrian-Jordanian border had been fully restored after an operation of the Russian Aerospace Forces and further assistance from the military police.

Israeli troops were on "high alert and readiness" following the strike.

Assad told his troops on Wednesday they were close to victory after inflicting a succession of defeats on fighters.