Israel Defense Forces soldiers saved a contingent of 130 Irish UNDOF soldiers from being killed or taken hostage by Islamist militias in the Golan Heights last week, “senior sources” told the Irish Independent on Sunday.
The mission reportedly took place on August 30 as jihadists overran the Quneitra Crossing between Israel and Syria.
According to the report, without the Israeli assistance, including intel of where jihadi forces were arrayed, there would have “‘almost certainly’ have been UN casualties or deaths.”
Irish Defense Forces soldiers also exchanged fire with the jihadis, according to The Irish Times.
Some 45 Fijian soldiers are still missing, and are believed to have been taken hostage by the Islamists.
Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan said in response to the events that, “The timescale of the UN review of the ongoing viability of the mission is short-term and urgent. We don’t want to see Irish troops or the UN contingent being drawn into a Syrian civil war.”
However, he ruled out a unilateral Irish pullout from the area.
“Support for the UN is a cornerstone of Irish foreign policy and any decision will be made in partnership with them,” Flanagan said.
The Irish, Filipino and Fijian forces are part of a 1,200 member group of peacekeepers monitoring the tense border.