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
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
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.
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
On Sunday, after a similar incident, the IDF fired an advanced
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.
shell did not cause injuries or damage. It was one of a series that hit Israeli
“In light of the policy instituted by IDF Chief of Staff
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. •