* Israeli Defence Ministry declines comment
* Israel concerned Islamic State could reach its borders
By Dan Williams
JERUSALEM, Sept 8 Israel has provided satellite
imagery and other intelligence in support of the U.S.-led aerial
campaign against Islamic State in Iraq, a Western diplomat said
Once "scrubbed" of evidence of its Israeli origin, the
information has often been shared by Washington with Arab and
Turkish allies, the diplomat said.
Israel's Defence Ministry neither confirmed nor denied
involvement in any international efforts against the militant
"We don't comment on any assistance by us, or if there is
such assistance, in the fight against ISIS," said Yaacov
Havakook, spokesman for ministry, using one of Islamic State's
The spread of Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, the insurgent
group's foreign volunteer contingent and the execution of two
U.S. journalists have jolted Western powers into military
Israel, worried that Islamic State could eventually reach
its borders and keen to repair international ties frayed by its
policies towards the Palestinians, has offered to help.
SATELLITES AND DATABASES
The Western diplomat said Israeli spy satellites, overflying
Iraq at angles and frequencies unavailable from U.S. satellites,
had provided images that allowed the Pentagon to "fill out its
information and get a better battle damage assessments" after
strikes on Islamic State targets.
Israel had also shared information gleaned from
international travel databases about Western citizens suspected
of joining the insurgents, who could be potential recruits for
future attacks in their native countries.
"The Israelis are very good with passenger data and with
analysing social media in Arabic to get a better idea of who
these people are," the diplomat said on condition of anonymity.
Underscoring Israel's backstage role, it is not among
countries being visited by U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel
this week as he builds the anti-Islamic State coalition.
But the Israeli-supplied intelligence would reach the U.S.
partner "with the Hebrew and other markings scrubbed out" to
avoid raising hackles among Arabs, Turks and perhaps even the
Iranian forces who also view Islamic State as a foe, the
Finance Minister Yair Lapid, a member of Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu's security cabinet, told a conference hosted
by the IDC Herzliya college near Tel Aviv that Israel should
"build a coalition of sanity" in which Israeli intelligence "is
part of the regional effort" against Islamic State, Lebanon's
Hezbollah group and al Qaeda.
(Editing by Jeffrey Heller and Tom Heneghan)