Naksa Day: 3 reported dead, 12 hurt on Israel-Syria border

IDF confirms injuries, not deaths; Syrian TV says IDF shot demonstrators attempting to breach border; TV show protesters carried away on stretchers; groups reportedly arriving at other points on border.

June 5, 2011 13:33
2 minute read.
Syria Naksa protest

Syria Naksa protest_311. (photo credit: Channel 10)

Syrian television on Sunday reported that three people were killed and 10 injured along the Syria-Israel border in the Golan Heights near Majdal Shams, reportedly from IDF fire. The IDF spokesperson said that the only information it had on deaths on the border were Syrian reports and therefore, it could not confirm the number of people killed or if there were any deaths at all.

According to the IDF spokesperson, around 150 people managed to cross to the Syrian side of the fence, entering a mined zone between the two fences.

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"We issued warnings for them to stop advancing. When they continued, we fired warning shots in the air," an IDF spokeswoman told The Jerusalem Post.

When the demonstrators continued toward the Israeli fence, they said, shots were fired at their lower bodies. "
We know of 12 injuries," she added.

A second demonstration was observed on the Syrian border in Kunetra, where 200 to 300 demonstrators amassed. The IDF said there was no attempt to cross the border at that event, and no injuries were recorded

IDF forces were sending Arabic-language messages through loudspeakers over the border, warning that anyone approaching the fence would be killed.

Syrian television also reported that demonstrators were attempting to breach the fence at several other points in the Golan Heights, Channel 2 reported.

Earlier Sunday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned that there are "radical elements who are trying to breach [Israel's] borders to mark the anniversary of the start of the Six Day War," speaking at the beginning of the weekly cabinet meeting. "We won't allow them to do it."

Netanyahu added that the security forces will act "firmly but with restraint."

IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai described the latest disturbances on the Israeli-Syrian border, "a Syrian attempt to create a provocation and distract attention away from what is happening in Syria, where there is an unprecedented number of dead and injured."

"We see Syrian soldiers not lifting a finger to stop the demonstrators," he said. "In Lebanon, we see the Lebanese army exercising sovereignty and preventing demonstrators from reaching the border."

The IDF, the spokesman added, "has learned lessons from Nakba day last month. This is an army that investigates itself and learns lessons quickly. Israel will now allow its borders to be breached."

IDF and police forces were on high alert and have shored up their presence on several of Israel’s frontiers ahead of Sunday’s anticipated border marches to commemorate the Palestinian “Naksa,” or “setback” in the 1967 Six Day War.

A wide-scale Internet campaign has called for protests in the West Bank and Jerusalem, on Israel’s borders with Syria, Lebanon and Jordan and outside its embassies in Cairo and Amman.

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