Israeli soldier
An Israeli soldier adjusts sights on a tank in the Israeli-occupied Golan HeightsReuters

At least four ISIS militants were killed in the direct clashes with the Israeli troops in what is being seen as the first such confrontation of the terrorist group with Israel.

The Israeli military said on Sunday that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) had opened fire on a military patrol on the Israeli side of the Golan Heights. No Israeli soldiers were wounded in the incident wherein Shuhada al-Yarmouk organization, which has pledged allegiance to ISIS, exchanged fire with Israeli forces.

So far, the Jewish state was largely unaffected by the next-door Syrian civil war and suffered only sporadic incidents that Israel generally dismissed and responded lightly.

In March this year, the terror group in an article justified why it chose not to attack Israel. ISIS argued that the Palestinian issue should not get preferential treatment over any other jihadi struggle, according to the Times of Israel.

The article noted: "If we look at the reality of the world today, we will find that it is completely ruled by polytheism and its laws, except for the regions where Allah made it possible for the Islamic State to establish the religion.... Therefore, jihad in Palestine is equal to jihad elsewhere."

The article, which was translated by NGO Middle East Media Research Institute, highlighted that their priority was the Arab states being governed by "tyrants." And first and foremost among these states, it said, was the Saudi royal family, from which the holy Islamic cities of Mecca and Medina must be rescued. "The apostate [tyrants] who rule the lands of Islam are graver infidels than [the Jews], and war against them takes precedence over war against the original infidels," the article said.

On Sunday after the clashes with ISIS, Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said his soldiers returned fire towards Syria before an Israeli aircraft engaged, striking the vehicle and killing its passengers. He said all were suspected militants from an ISIS outfit that controls the area.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commended Israeli troops for thwarting the attack.

"We are well prepared on our northern border and will not allow Islamic State elements or any other hostile elements to use the war in Syria to establish themselves close to our borders," he said at a weekly Cabinet meeting.