IDF Armored Corps soldiers train on the Golan Heights.
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
The IDF struck targets across the border for a second day on Sunday after mortar shells fired from Syria fell on the Israeli side of the Golan Heights.
The mortar fire came just hours after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned at the weekly cabinet meeting that Israel would not tolerate a “trickle” of rocket fire on its territory.
“Our policy is clear,” he said. “We will not accept any kind of ‘trickle’ – not of mortars, rockets or spillover fire [from the Syrian Civil War].
Israel strikes Syrian targets in response to earlier cross-border fire, June 24, 2017. (IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
We will respond with force to every attack on our territory and against our citizens.”
Nevertheless, the fire continued, and the IDF responded by striking a number of Syrian positions. The IDF spokesman said two Syrian regime artillery positions and an ammunition truck were hit. A day earlier, the IDF hit a heavy machine gun position and two Syrian tanks.
The army said the projectiles fired from Syria hit an open area in the northern Golan Heights and did not cause any injury. As a precautionary measure, however, the IDF instructed farmers and civilians not to enter open areas near Quneitra and Emek Habacha.
In addition, Highway 98, which runs near the Israeli- Syrian frontier on the Golan Heights, was closed to traffic due to exchanges of gunfire across the border inside Syria.
“The IDF is not a side nor involved in the domestic fighting inside Syria,” the IDF spokesman said in a statement.
“With that, however, we look with gravity on attempts to harm the sovereignty of Israel or the security of its citizens.”
Israel, the statement read, views the Syrian regime as responsible for what is taking place on its territory.
At Sunday’s cabinet meeting, meanwhile, Netanyahu warned Iran that Israel “views with utmost gravity” its attempts to establish itself militarily in Syria and its efforts to arm Hezbollah with advanced weaponry via Syria and Lebanon.
Netanyahu has said repeatedly that Israel will act to prevent game-changing weapons from reaching Hezbollah through Syria; to prevent the establishment of a permanent Iranian military presence on its border; and to keep rockets from being fired from Syria into Israel.