Israel hits 'source' of second Syrian mortar shell

For second day in a row, Israel responds to Syrian shells, this time hitting two Syrian mortar launchers.

IDF tanks along the Syrian border on Golan Heights 370 (R) (photo credit: Baz Ratner / Reuters)
IDF tanks along the Syrian border on Golan Heights 370 (R)
(photo credit: Baz Ratner / Reuters)
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. Unlike Sunday’s exchange, 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.
The IDF does not believe that Monday’s shell was deliberate, but intensified its response nonetheless in order to send the message to Damascus that the errant shells must stop.
The Syrian army is in the area to pursue rebels who have taken refuge in the village of Be’er Ajam, a few kilometers from Israel. The Syrian shell exploded near an IDF outpost at Hezakia on the Golan Heights.
“We will not allow anyone to breach our borders or to fire on our citizens,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said following the incident.
Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon said earlier Monday, before the second shell hit Israel, that Syrian President Bashar Assad was being very careful regarding the border with Israel.
Ya’alon noted, however, that there was very heavy fighting taking place near the Golan Heights as well as in Damascus, referring to Syria’s ongoing civil war.
On Sunday, after a similar incident, the IDF fired an advanced Tapuz-type missile at a Syrian artillery cannon aimed toward a Syrian military target, deliberately missing the cannon.
“In the midst of Syrian infighting, a mortar shell fired by the Syrian army struck near an [IDF] outpost at Tel Azeka,” IDF spokesman Brig.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai said Sunday.
The shell did not cause injuries or damage. It was one of a series that hit Israeli territory.
“In light of the policy instituted by IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen.
Benny Gantz, a warning round was fired back into Syria. We don’t believe it caused injuries or damages,” Mordechai added.
“We will not accept any firing into our territory,” he concluded. •