IDF vehicle damaged by Syrian gunfire; none hurt

Army doesn't say whether bullets were strays from Syrian infighting or deliberate; IDF: Return fire may have killed Syrian soldiers.

By REUTERS
November 18, 2012 08:29
2 minute read.
IDF tanks along the Syrian border on Golan Heights

IDF tanks along the Syrian border on Golan Heights 370 (R). (photo credit: Baz Ratner / Reuters)

 
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Gunfire was directed at an IDF force near the border fence with Syria on Saturday night.

An IDF vehicle was damaged by bullets. IDF artillery targeted the source of the gunfire. "We identified an accurate strike," an army spokeswoman said.

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The IDF did not say whether the bullets were strays from Syrian infighting or a deliberate attack.

IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai told Army Radio Sunday morning that there may have been Syrian casualties from the IDF's return fire.

"There was small arms fire (at Israeli forces), there was a response and from what I hear over Arab media it appears Syrian soldiers were killed."

He said Israel was trying not to be dragged into battles between Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces and rebels.

"Our trigger finger is very stiff, not light," Mordechai said. "Under no circumstances do we accept any shooting on the State of Israel's territory, but nor do we intend to heat up the area."



The incident came after stray fire from Syria entered Israeli territory three times in the last week.

An IDF soldier on Thursday was struck by a stray bullet originating from the Syrian side of the border.

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The soldier's bulletproof vest prevented serious injury, however he did suffer light wounds in the incident.

Israel fired at and struck two Syrian mortar launchers on Monday, following the second time in as many days that Syrian artillery shells exploded in Israeli territory.

A tank from the 401 Armored Brigade fired at the Syrian targets in what was an escalated Israeli retaliation to Syrian fire. The IDF fired with the intention of hitting its target, as part of a new policy designed to deter Syrian forces from firing into Israel.

There were conflicting reports on whether Syrian soldiers were injured in the aftermath. IDF sources said there were no known injuries, though a Channel 2 report claimed that a number of soldiers in Syria were hurt, and broadcast video of a Syrian ambulance sent to evacuate the soldiers.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu toured the Golan Heights on Wednesday amid the border incidents. Barak stated that nearly all of the Syrian villages along the border with Israel are in rebel hands.

Jpost.com staff contributed to this report.

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