Saturday, August 17, 2013

Tensions Increasing On Golan Heights: IDF Retaliates After Mortar Fire

Any potential escalation on the Golan Heights is worth watching closely:

The IDF fired a Tamuz missile at a Syrian military post in the Golan Heights after several mortars were fired from the Syrian side of the border into Israel earlier Saturday.

According to the IDF, the missile destroyed a Syrian cannon which had fired artillery at Israel.

The military said the mortars, which exploded in a field and caused no damage or injuries, had not been deliberately fired into Israel, and that they were random spillover from the fighting raging on across the border.
Earlier Saturday, several loud explosions were heard in the Golan Heights, prompting IDF forces to scan the area to investigate whether mortars were fired into the area from Syria.
No casualties or damage were reported, and the IDF issued no special security instructions for residents of the area.
Since the start of the civil war in Syria, dozens of errant mortar shells have landed in Israeli territory. In the past, Israel filed a complaint with the UN peacekeeping forces in the Golan, requesting they bring an end to the cross-border shelling. Occasionally, Israel has shot missiles at Syrian army positions in response to incidents of errant mortar fire.
Meanwhile, Israeli doctors at Nahariya’s Galilee Medical Center on Saturday treated four Syrian citizens injured in clashes. One of the men was in serious condition, suffering from head and chest wounds. The others suffered shrapnel wounds to the face and limbs and were reportedly in moderate condition.
Last month, after 10 mortars landed in Israeli territory, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon warned that Israel will not hesitate to respond to fire with fire. “Once attacks from Syria endanger us or violate our sovereignty, we will identify the source of fire and destroy it,” Ya’alon said.
Three other Syrians, in their early twenties, were taken to Sieff Hospital in Safed, suffering from gunshot and shrapnel wounds.
Israel has treated upwards of 100 Syrians in its hospitals since the start of the civil war.

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