Israel has been providing the US with sensitive intelligence and satellite imagery on ISIS positions in the Middle East as part of Washington’s call on allies to assist in combating the radical Islamic terror organization, Reuters reported.
Israeli spy satellites have better access to the Middle East than those of the US. According to an anonymous Western official, the Pentagon has relied on Israeli imagery to “fill out its information and get a better battle damage assessment” in the aftermath of airstrikes.
Last week, US Secretary of State John Kerry called on Israel and other international allies to form an ad-hoc alliance to combat ISIS. The move came two days after a video showing the beheading of American-Israeli journalist Steven Sotloff by ISIS surfaced on the internet.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that more than 40 countries have expressed a willingness to join the US in combating ISIS, who have conquered vast areas of land in Syria and Iraq.
“What the goal of the coalition is, is to coordinate on the threat that ISIL poses,” Psaki said.
She explained that each country’s role would vary and not all would be involved in direct military support in Iraq. “There are obviously a range of capabilities or capacities that different countries have,” Psaki said.
The spokeswoman added that the main goal of the coalition is to cut off funding to ISIS as well as stop the flow of foreign fights and ideological support to the terror group.
In order to avoid conflict over sharing sensitive information with non-aligned countries, the report stated that the US made sure Israel’s role in gathering the intelligence was kept secret. Before handing over satellite imagery to Turkey and other Arab countries, all information linking Israel to the intelligence was cleared.
According to the source, the intelligence arrived “with the Hebrew and other marking scrubbed out” to avoid conflict.
The report also stated that Israel has passed along intelligence regarding Westerners who have joined the ranks of ISIS. The information, which was gleaned from international travel databases, have helped identify potential recruits heading to the Middle East to train and carry out future terror attacks.
“The Israelis are very good with passenger data and with analyzing social media in Arabic to get a better idea of who these people are,” the source said.
Israel’s Defense Ministry has neither confirmed nor denied any involvement in international efforts against ISIS.