An IDF soldier stands atop a tank near Alonei Habashan on the Golan Heights, close to the ceasefire line between Israel and Syria.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Two rockets exploded in the northern Golan Heights on Tuesday, triggering air-raid sirens and sending locals and some 1,000 visitors to the Mount Hermon ski site fleeing for cover.
The projectiles exploded in open areas, failing to cause injuries or damage. The IDF quickly returned fire. Mount Hermon was evacuated in the minutes following the attacks.
A security source later said Hezbollah had been behind the rocket fire and that the IDF continued to be on alert for further events.
“Syria is responsible for what happens in Syrian territory,” the source said. “We will see how further events unfold.”
A second source said there were no planned school cancellations or special security instructions for residents of the North at this time, and that the Home Front Command would notify civilians if there were changes. The Hermon site remained closed but was scheduled to reopen on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that whoever tries to challenge Israel on its borders “will find out that we are ready to react with force.
“Israel regards with severity the attack today from Syrian territory. Those who play with fire get burned,” the prime minister said.
The rocket fire came nine days after a strike on a Hezbollah convoy in Syria that has been widely attributed to Israel. Six Hezbollah operatives were killed in the strike, along with six Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps operatives, including a general. Among the Hezbollah personnel killed were Jihad Mughniyeh, son of assassinated Hezbollah military leader Imad Mughniyeh.
According to Western intelligence sources, Jihad Mughniyeh was in the midst of setting up a terrorist base on the Syrian Golan and plotting rocket attacks, bombings, anti-tank missile strikes and cross-border infiltrations against Israel.
On Tuesday, Iran’s IRNA news agency quoted a senior official was as saying Tehran has told the United States that the air strike, which it attributed to Israel, had crossed redlines and the Islamic Republic would respond.
“We told the Americans that the leaders of the Zionist regime should await the consequences of their act,” Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said.
“In this message to the Americans we said that the Zionist regime had crossed our redlines,” Abdollahian said.
He said Iran delivered the message to US officials via diplomatic channels.
Abdollahian’s warning echoed those of Iran’s Basij force commanders at a ceremony on Tuesday honoring Allahdadi.
“The Zionists should know that they are approaching their destruction. They should be fully prepared because they will not have peace any more,” Brig.-Gen. Mohammad Reza Naghdi said, according to ISNA news agency.
Responding to the latest incident, Labor Party and opposition leader Isaac Herzog said: “It is clear to me and to all of us that we can trust the IDF and security establishment and they will know to make the right decisions.”
According to Herzog, there has been a tangible strain on citizens’ personal safety in Jerusalem, on the Gaza border, in Tel Aviv and on the Golan during Netanyahu’s tenure.
“The time has come to bring back Israelis’ sense of security – personal and social. One depends on the other,” he said, speaking to students at Sapir College in Sderot.
“We need to be determined and enlist the world to Israel’s side for the good of our security interests, because we cannot make a living without security, and there is no security without being able to make a living,” Herzog said.Reuters contributed to this report.