Mortar shells land on Golan Heights (Illustration).
(photo credit: AMMAR AWAD / REUTERS)
The army struck positions in Syria over the weekend after projectiles struck the Golan Heights, apparently errant fire from fighting in Syria.
According to the IDF, two rockets landed in open territory and caused no damage or injuries but red-alert missile sirens were activated in several communities on the Golan.
“[The IDF] will not tolerate any attempt to harm the State of Israel’s sovereignty and the security of its residents, and holds the Syrian regime responsible for anything that occurs on its territory,” the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said.
According to Syrian media, Israel struck positions near the city of Quneitra, which lies just a short distance from the border between the two countries.
With various heavily armed radical groups battling President Bashar Assad, Syria is Israel’s most unpredictable and unstable neighbor and poses one of the largest risks for sudden escalation. The errant rocket fire is likely from fighting between Hezbollah and regime troops against rebel groups near Ain Ayshaa, Samadiniyah a-Sharkiya and Madinat al-Ba’ath near Quneitra.
The incident occurred as US Defense Secretary James Mattis visited Israel where, during a press conference alongside Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, he confirmed that Syria has dispersed its aircraft following the American Tomahawk strikes against the Shayrat Air Base where warplanes that carried out Tuesday’s deadly Khan Sheikhoun chemical gas attack were based.
Mattis warned Assad against any further use of chemical weapons, saying “they’d be ill-advised to try to use any again. We’ve made that very clear with our strike.”
The border with Syria has been tense since civil war erupted in 2011. While Israel rarely publicly admits to carrying out strikes in Syria, which are mostly limited to convoys of advanced weaponry destined for Hezbollah, it is suspected of carrying out occasional retaliatory attacks after stray rockets or mortar rounds have hit Israeli territory.
The Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.