Heart-stopping footage shows Israeli commandos rescuing wounded men from Syrian warzone – but WHY are they risking their lives for Islamic militants?
- Elite Israeli troops rescue wounded Syrians from the world’s worst war almost every night
- They have saved more than 2,000 people since 2013, at a cost of 50 million shekels (£8.7million)
- Many are enemies of Israel and some may even be fighters for groups affiliated to Al Qaeda
- MailOnline embedded with Israeli commandos stationed on the border between Israel and Syria
- Dramatic video filmed by MailOnline and the Israeli army shows these operations taking place
- Israel says that the operation is purely humanitarian but analysts believe Israel also has strategic reasons
Under cover of darkness, an Israeli armoured car advances down the potholed road that leads to Syria.
As it crests a small hill, the driver picks up the radio handset and tells his commanding officer that the border is in sight.
He kills the engine. Ten heavily-armed commandos jump out and take cover, watching for signs of ambush. Then five of them move up to the 12ft chainlink fence that marks the limit of Israeli-held territory.
On the other side, on the very edge of Syria, lies an unconscious man wrapped like a doll in a blood-drenched duvet. The commandos unlock the fence, open a section of it and drag him onto Israeli soil.
The casualty – who doesn’t look older than 20 – is losing blood fast. He has been shot in the intestines and the liver, and has a deep laceration in his left ankle.
After putting him on an emergency drip, the commandos stretcher him back to the armoured car and head back to Israel.
But this wounded man is not an Israeli soldier, or even an Israeli citizen. He is an Islamic militant. And his rescue forms part of an extraordinary humanitarian mission that is fraught with danger and has provoked deep controversy on all sides.
Almost every night, Israeli troops run secret missions to save the lives of Syrian fighters, all of whom are sworn enemies of the Jewish state.
MailOnline has gained unprecedented access to this secretive and hazardous operation, embedding with the commandos to obtain exclusive footage, and interviewing the medics who are obliged to treat Syrian militants, some of whom openly admit that they intend to kill Israelis.
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