|Photo by: Nir Ellias/Reuters|
IDF fires warning shot into Syria after shelling
By YAAKOV LAPPIN
IDF targets Syria for first time since Yom Kippur War.
IDF ground forces fired a warning shot at the Syrian military on Sunday for the
first time since the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
They shot the guided missile
after a stray Syrian shell from civil strife in that country exploded on the
Golan Heights for the second time in recent days.
The shell hit as Israel
suffered a barrage of missiles from Gaza, putting the IDF in the position of
monitoring enemy fire along both the northern and southern borders.
the midst of Syrian infighting, a mortar shell fired by the Syrian Army struck
near an [IDF] outpost at Tel Azeka,” IDF spokesman Brig.- Gen. Yoav Mordechai
The shell failed to cause injuries or damage. It was one of a
series that hit Israeli territory.
“In light of the policy instituted by
IDF chief of Staff Lt.- Gen. Benny Gantz, a warning round was fired back into
Syria. We don’t believe it caused injuries or damages,” Mordechai
The IDF fired an advanced Tapuz-type missile at a Syrian artillery
cannon, military sources said.
Concurrently, Israel sent a warning message to the UN, saying that any further firing into Israel will
result “in a real response.”
The IDF limited its return fire to a single
missile, since its policy is to only fire intensively in response to coming
under major Syrian fire.
“We didn’t continue firing, because this was one
mortar shell we were responding to,” the source said.
“We will not accept
any firing into our territory,” he added.
“This was a signal to the
Syrians, that we will not be so forgiving of everything that lands in a
The source stressed that as of now, Israel and Syria were not
in a situation of conflict.
The IDF is on standby in case of security
deterioration on both the northern front and on the border with
Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Army Radio, “The message has
certainly been relayed. To tell you confidently that no shell will fall? I
cannot. If a shell falls, we will respond.”
On Syria, Barak said: “After
a number of shelling incidents into Israeli territory during recent weeks, I
instructed the IDF to respond in-kind should the situation recur. Today, another
mortar shell was fired from Syria, landing on an IDF outpost. The Chief of Staff
ordered the IDF to return fire on the mortar outpost [from which the mortar was
fired]. This was a sign to Syria that we will not tolerate shelling into our
A complaint was also lodged with UNDOF.
Syria has been
in the midst of a brutal civil war for over a year, and the IDF has been
instructed to prevent the battles from spilling over into our
Additional shelling into Israel from Syria will elicit a
tougher response, exacting a higher price from Syria.
Minister Moshe Ya’alon told Arutz 7 that Israel has sent very clear messages to
Syria not to let the violence spill over into Israel. He added that he believed
Syrian President Bashar Assad understood the importance of keeping the border
At Sunday’s cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
said that Israel was closely following events along the Syrian border, and was
prepared for all possibilities on that front.
Sunday’s scuffle came a
week after three Syrian tanks entered the demilitarized zone on the Golan
Heights on Saturday afternoon, and remained there for several hours into the
The tanks, which were involved in heavy clashes with Syrian
rebels, encroached the decadesold cease-fire line Turkey has retaliated against
errant mortar shells and violent spillover from Syrian infighting in recent
weeks as well.
Tovah Lazaroff and Jerusalem Post staff contributed to