The IDF evacuated tourists from the top of Mount Hermon on Wednesday afternoon
after sighting dozens of Syrians – many of them armed with guns – in civilian
clothing approaching the Israeli border.
The suspects, who may have been
rebels, did not infiltrate the border, and stopped their approach to the fence
some 500 meters away from the international boundary.
As a result of the
sighting, the IDF Northern Command issued an order to evacuate all civilians
from the upper level of the Mount Hermon site, a popular attraction for visitors
over the holidays.
Meanwhile, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny
Gantz issued a warning on the developing situation in Syria, saying that as
President Bashar Assad continued to lose his grip on the country, it would turn
into a giant arms cache for terrorist organizations.
Gantz noted that
al-Qaida-inspired groups were growing in number in Syria. He made the comments
while hosting IDF company commanders in a succa at the Defense Ministry in Tel
Last week, mortar shells that the Syrian army had fired strayed
into Israel, striking northern farmlands. The shells landed harmlessly in open
fields, but exploded a short time after farmers were in the area.
mortar shells were “aimed at villages inside Syria and are part of the internal,
ongoing conflict in Syria,” said the IDF Spokesman’s Office following the
It was the second time in as many months that Syrian shells
crossed the border into Israel. Israel filed a complaint at the time with the UN
Disengagement Observer Force, which operates along the border area.