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Israeli airstrike followed gunfire exchange between militants and Israeli soldiers

Khalid ibn al-Walid Army controls an area in the southwest corner of Syria

Jerusalem CNN  — 

An Israeli airstrike killed four militants linked to ISIS affiliates Sunday morning in southwest Syria, according to Israeli military spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner.

The airstrike followed an exchange of gunfire between the militants and Israeli soldiers, making it the most substantial clash between Israel and ISIS loyalists in Syria, the Israeli military said.

The Israeli soldiers from a reconnaissance unit were operating within Israeli-occupied territory in the disputed Golan region when they came under fire from militants of the ISIS affiliate Khalid ibn al-Walid Army, Lerner said.

The soldiers fired back, triggering an exchange of gunfire. A subsequent Israeli airstrike destroyed a vehicle carrying four militants, Lerner said.

The Khalid ibn al-Walid Army, formerly known as the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade, controls an area in the southwest corner of Syria, close to the borders with both Israel and Jordan.

The region is home to about 40,000 people, according to the Israeli military. The militant group consists of some 700 operatives, Lerner said.