Israel is the only country that ISIS fears, reveals a new report by a veteran German journalist who spent ten days embedded with the group in territory controlled by the Islamic State.
The journalist, Jürgen Todenhöfer, toured ISIS-controlled cities and interviewed ISIS fighters, prisoners of war, and civilians living under ISIS’s rule, and uncovered some surprising truths about the militant Islamic terrorist state.
Not the least surprising was learning that the tiny Jewish state is the only one in the world whose army ISIS is not eager to meet in battle. In an interview with Jewish News, Todenhöfer said, “The only country ISIS fears is Israel. They told me they know the Israeli army is too strong for them.”
According to the journalist, ISIS fighters are not afraid of combat with US and UK ground troops, who have little experience in city guerilla or terrorist strategies. Indeed, they hope that the West will send American and British ground troops so that ISIS can take them prisoner.
However, Israeli soldiers, who have extensive experience in urban fighting, are another story. “They know the Israelis are very tough as far as fighting against guerrillas and terrorists,” said Todenhöfer.
The journalist told Jewish News, “They are not scared of the British and the Americans, they are scared of the Israelis and told me the Israeli army is the real danger. ‘We can’t defeat them with our current strategy,’ [they said]. ‘These people [the IDF] can fight a guerrilla war.”
ISIS is confident regarding western armies, Todenhöfer said, especially when engaging them in urban warfare. In the Iraqi ISIS-controlled city of Mosul, 10,000 fighters live among 1.5 million people spread through 2,000 apartments, “so it would be difficult [for western soldiers] to fight them. ISIS fighters are ready to die in a war against western soldiers,” said Todenhöfer.
Todenhöfer spent six months building up special relations with ISIS contacts over Skype before his trip in order to be allowed to visit. He said that he asked other journalists to accompany him, but none would. He added, “I will never go back.”
In contrast to Todenhöfer’s words, however, ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi issued his first public threat against Israel over the weekend in a new audio recording released online. It remains to be seen whether the threat is legitimate or, as it would seem in light of Todenhöfer’s discovery, simply posturing.