A German journalist who spent 10 days with the Islamic State group and came out unharmed told a British Jewish news site that the jihadist fighters told him that the only country they fear is Israel.
“They told me they know the Israeli army is too strong for them,” journalist and former member of German parliament Jurgen Todenhofer told the U.K.'s Jewish News.
“They are not scared of the British and the Americans," Todenhofer said. "They are scared of the Israelis and told me the Israeli army is the real danger." He added that Israel Defense Forces can fight a guerrilla war.
The journalist said that the Islamist militants told him they hope to lure Western forces into Iraq and Syria where they could then kidnap American and British soldiers.
“They think they can defeat U.S. and U.K. ground troops, who they say they have no experience in city guerrilla or terrorist strategies," Todenhofer said. "But they know the Israelis are very tough as far as fighting against guerrillas and terrorists."
Todenhofer told Jewish News that the Islamic State was “preparing the largest religious cleansing in history” and that while they are prepared to accept Christian and Jewish citizens in exchange for the payment of a jizya tax, the fate for Shi’ite Muslims is death.
“They kill all the Shia Muslims they can get their hands on," he said. "I asked them ... if they were prepared to kill every Shia Muslim, and they scoffed: ‘150 million or 500 million, we don’t care, it’s only a technical problem for us. We are ready to do that.'"
The journalist said he spent six months cultivating jihadist contacts online in order to ensure he was protected once entering Islamic State territory. He spent 10 days with leading members of the Islamist group, including spokesmen, judges and fighters.
Despite the reporter's assessment that the Islamic State fears Israel, a threat on Israel was part of the audio message released over the weekend purportedly by the Islamic State’s leader.
"We are getting closer to you day by day. ... Do not think that we have forgotten about you,” said Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
"God caused the Jews of the world to gather in Israel, and the war against them has become easy," he said. "It is the obligation of every Muslim to carry out Jihad."
"Jews, you will not enjoy ... Palestine. God has gathered you in Palestine so that the Mujahadeen can reach you soon and you will hide by the rock and the tree. Palestine will be your graveyard," he added.