Syrian mortars hit Mount Hermon for first time

IDF Chief of Staff holds consultations after incident; not clear if shells were fired deliberately or not.

By
May 15, 2013 21:56
1 minute read.
Israeli Syrian border in the Golan Heights

Golan border Syria truck 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Baz Ratner)

Two Syrian mortars slammed into Mount Hermon on Wednesday morning, marking the first time that the area has been hit since the start of the Syrian civil war two years ago.

Following the incident, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz held consultations with senior defense officials.

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The IDF’s policy on Syria continues to be to try and contain the incidents stemming from across the northern border.

The shells exploded in open areas, failing to cause damages or injuries. The IDF is still seeking to determine whether the shells were fired deliberately, or were part of a battle between rebels and the Syrian army.

“We still don’t know with certainty either way,” a senior security source told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.

“We can’t say for sure that it was erroneous firing, but neither can we be sure that it was deliberate. This area has not been hit before. We are checking it,” the source added.

The IDF is hoping to have more information in the coming days.

The military lodged a complaint with the United Nations Disengagement Observation Force (UNDOF).

The army instructed the Mount Hermon tourist site to close off the area for several hours on Wednesday morning.

The site was later reopened.

“I don’t feel tension. The fact is we are here as usual,” cyclist Ariel Hermshleg told Channel 2 News.

Last week, on two separate days, mortars from Syria landed in the Golan Heights. The IDF believed that they were not fired at Israel deliberately.

On Sunday, Syrian rebels freed four Filipino UN peacekeepers whom they had captured on the cease-fire line between Syria and the Golan Heights.

A group of 21 Filipino UN peacekeepers were taken hostage and released in March raising concerns that the fighting in Syria was spilling over into the Golan.

Also on Wednesday, a rocket fired from Gaza exploded in a field in the Eshkol Regional Council in the South, triggering an air raid siren.

The rocket failed to cause injuries or damages.

Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.


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