IDF tanks along the Syrian border on Golan Heights 370 (R).
(photo credit: Baz Ratner / Reuters)
Israel has sent a number of warning messages to Syria and is ready to defend itself, Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya'alon said Friday, a day after three errant Syrian mortar shells landed in Israeli territory. Last week, three Syrian tanks entered the demilitarized zone on the Golan Heights.
"The other side has received no small [number of] messages recently," Ya'alon wrote on his Twitter account, saying that Syria has reacted accordingly.
Saying he hopes someone on the Syrian side takes control of the situation, Ya'alon parsed no words in saying Israel is ready to take action if necessary.
"If we see that it is spilling in our direction, we know how to defend Israeli citizens and the sovereignty of our state," Ya'alon added.
Three Syrian mortar shells struck in and around an Israeli village on the Golan Heights Thursday, marking a significant deterioration of security conditions along the border.
One shell fell in between homes in Moshav Alonei Habashan, but did not explode. Two more hit closer to the border.
No one was injured in the incident, which follows other stray shootings, including Syrian bullets that struck an IDF jeep on patrol last week.
Home Front Defense Minister Avi Dichter said Israel needed “nerves of steel” to deal with the instability in Syria.
He added that there was nowhere for Israel to respond, due to the chaos over the border.
The incidents “require a level-headed response from Israeli authorities,” Dichter said.
Most of Alon Habashan’s residents reacted coolly to the shells, though some expressed anger over what they said was the government’s failure to protect them.
Amir Duvdevani, who has helped handle security for the village in the past, told Channel 10 that the government had not issued any safety instructions over how to respond to Syrian fire.
The village had not been exposed to fire from the Syrian border since 1974, he added.Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.