Air strikes on a holdout of the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria near the Iraqi border have killed 18 jihadists, including a senior Iraqi commander, a monitor said Friday.
Those killed late Thursday in the village of Sousa in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor were mostly foreigners, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The Britain-based monitor, which relies on sources inside Syria for its information, was unable to say if the strikes were carried out by a US-led coalition fighting IS or Iraq.
The Iraqi army said it had targeted an IS “operations room” inside Syria late Thursday, killing “a number of IS elements”, but did not mention a precise location.
It was not immediately clear whether the Iraqi army and the Observatory were referring to the same incident.
IS overran large swathes of Syria and neighboring Iraq in 2014, proclaiming a “caliphate” in land it controlled.
But the jihadist group has since lost most of it to various offensives in both countries. In Syria, its presence has been reduced to pockets in Deir Ezzor and parts of the vast Badia desert.
The last major attack by IS killed some 250 people in the Druze city of Sweida in south Syria.
Four suicide bombers and IS fighters attacked residents with guns and explosives, inflicting the heaviest loss of life on the the Druze-majority region during the Syrian civil war.
At least 56 jihadists died carrying out the assault.
Two weeks after the suicide attack in Sweida, Israel’s Defense Forces (IDF) announced that its aircraft carried out an overnight strike in the Golan Heights killing seven armed IS-affiliated “terror operatives” who breached Israeli territory from Syria.
Searches conducted following the airstrike revealed that the terrorists had been armed with assault rifles and explosive belts, and appeared prepared to carry out an attack in Israeli territory.
The seven IS terrorists were killed “just a few hundred meters away from Israeli border communities” after breaching the demilitarized zone separating Israel and Syria, IDF Spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said.
The terrorists were some 700 feet into the demilitarized zone at the time of the strike, Conricus said, clarifying that the gunmen had not reached the heavily fortified security fence on the Israeli side of the buffer zone.
“Had they been able to continue, they would have come to the Israeli security fence,” Conricus said.
The rare incident came as Israel readied itself for Syria regaining complete control of the country’s south near the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights.