The army fired artillery at 14 targets in Syria on Thursday evening, hours after four rockets were fired from that country deep into northern Israel.
The IDF said Syria would suffer the consequences of rocket strikes on Israel’s civilians.
Two of the enemy rockets struck open areas on the Golan Heights and two others hit the Upper Galilee far from the border with Syria. They were fired at Israel from the center of the Syrian-held portion of the Golan Heights, the IDF said.
The IDF Spokesman’s Office said, “We see Syria as responsible and they will suffer the consequences.”
Since the Syrian civil war began in 2011, mortar shells and rockets have struck Israel on a semi-regular basis, but always very close to the border, prompting security officials to consider them “spillover” from the war and not fire directed intentionally at Israel.
The rockets triggered warning sirens across the North, sending Israelis running for cover – including thousands of vacationers taking a summer break.
No injuries or damages were reported, though they did spark a number of brushfires, which firefighters from across the North were able to extinguish within hours.
Thursday’s strikes hit much deeper within Israel, and by the late evening a senior security official said that Islamic Jihad was responsible for the rocket fire, with the financial backing of Iran. Dawoud Shehab, an Islamic Jihad spokesman in Gaza, denied the report.
“Israel is trying to divert attention from the defeat that it suffered in the face of the determination of the hero prisoner, Mohammed Allan,” Shehab told Reuters.
Islamic Jihad had previously threatened reprisals should Allan, one of its operatives in administrative detention in Israel, die of a hunger strike.
Several hours ahead of the rocket strikes, the IDF deployed Iron Dome anti-missile batteries in Ashdod and Be’ersheba, and increased the level of readiness in the south, out of concern of an escalation of violence if Allan’s condition were to continue to deteriorate after his 65 days without eating. By Thursday afternoon however, Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon had reported that his condition had improved and he was receiving fluids and other nutrients intravenously and was no longer sedated or on a respirator.Reuters contributed to this report.