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IDF strikes targets in Gaza; fires into Syria following shelling from northern border
By YAAKOV LAPPIN
06/02/2014
IAF responds to rocket fire from Gaza, Israeli artillery fires across northern border after Syrian shells land near Mount Hermon.
 
The Israel Air Force struck two terror targets in the Gaza Strip overnight Sunday in response to Palestinian rocket fire at Israel hours earlier.

It was the first instance of Palestinian projectile fire and Israeli retaliation in a month.

Over the past 48 hours, two Palestinian rockets fired from Gaza landed in the South – one in the Sha’ar Hanegev region on Sunday, and one in the Eshkol region on Saturday.

On Monday, the IDF said it had bombed two targets, in northern and southern Gaza, and identified accurate strikes.

In a separate incident Monday morning, the IDF fired artillery salvos into Syria after Syrian shells flew in the direction of Israeli military posts on Mount Hermon.

There were no injuries or damages on the Israeli side.

“The IDF responded with artillery fire toward the sources of fire,” read a statement by the IDF Spokesman’s Unit.

“The IDF reserves the right to act in any way, and at any time, to protect the residents of the State of Israel.”

Earlier this month, the IDF Northern Command declared the Kuneitra crossing area a closed military zone, following intense exchanges of fire between Syrian rebels and forces loyal to President Bashar Assad.

The IDF sealed the area and told local farm workers to stay away, due to the danger of stray shells or gunfire reaching Israel. Assad’s forces have been under siege in the border area near Israel for many months, and attempts by the Syrian army to reverse rebel victories in the region have so far been a failure.

In recent months, the Syrian army controlled just two locations along the border with Israel: the town of Kuneitra, and the Druse region of Khadr. All remaining border areas have been under the control of myriad rebel groups, including radical jihadi organizations with links to al-Qaida, like Jabhat al-Nusra.

“The pastoral scenery of the Golan Heights, awash with basalt and flowing streams, can change in a momentary bang to a battlefield of blood, fire and plumes of smoke,” IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen.

Benny Gantz warned last October, referring to the unstable nature of the Syrian border region and the increase in terror groups in the area.

As part of the military’s preparations, the IDF created the 210th territorial Bashan Division and deployed it to the border in recent months to boost frontier security. The division aids in coordinating swifter military responses to border incidents.
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