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Syrian army fire directed at soldiers; IDF returns fire

By
March 24, 2013 09:35

Soldiers patrolling border respond to fire with Tamuz guided missile, reportedly destroying Syrian army position; no injuries reported in Israel; Ya'alon: We will respond to all violations of Israeli sovereignty.

A tank battalion from the Armored Corps 401 Brigade held a war drill on the Golan Heights on Feb 20

IDF tanks along the Syrian border on Golan Heights 370 (R). (photo credit: IDF Spokesman Unit)

The IDF fired a Tamuz guided surface-to-surface missile at a Syrian army post on Sunday morning following two incidents of gunfire directed at Israeli soldiers.

The missile struck its target, reportedly wounding two Syrian soldiers at a machinegun nest. There were no injuries or damage reported on the Israeli side, the army said.



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All work near the Golan security fence to fortify the frontier has been temporarily suspended, the army added.

A defense source told The Jerusalem Post, “We have repeatedly clarified that we cannot accept shootings at our forces, whether they are accidental or deliberate.”

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Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said as he took a severe view of the two shooting incidents from Syria.

The IDF response was in line with government policy, which holds that “every violation of Israeli sovereignty and firing from the Syrian side will be answered immediately through the silencing of the source of fire when it is identified,” Ya’alon said. “We see the Syrian regime as being responsible for all violations of sovereignty.

“We won’t allow the Syrian army or any other element to violate Israeli sovereignty by opening fire at our territory.”

IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz said the Syrian shooting had placed Israeli soldiers’ lives at risk, requiring a decisive response.

Earlier on Sunday, gunfire from Syria was directed at IDF soldiers stationed along the border. On Saturday night, an IDF jeep on patrol near the border was hit by cross-border gunfire. No one was wounded, but the vehicle was lightly damaged.

Southern Syria has seen fierce fighting between regime forces and rebels, some of whom are radical jihadis. The rebels gained ground last week, seizing a number of towns. It is unclear whether the forces of President Bashar Assad have since managed to drive them back.

Sunday was not the first time the IDF fired a missile across the border.

In November, a Syrian shell exploded near an IDF outpost on the Golan Heights – one of many similar episodes, prompting the IDF to fire a Tamuz. It exploded near a Syrian military position, serving as a warning shot.

The next day, the Syrians failed to heed the warnings, and a second mortar shell exploded in Israel. That time around, the IDF directed tank fire at two Syrian army mortar cannons, striking them directly.

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