'Stray' Syrian mortars land in Golan Heights

Home front defense minister says mortars from Syria falling in the Golan Heights have no return address Israel can respond to.

Israeli soldiers in the North 370 (photo credit: Nir Ellias/Reuters)
Israeli soldiers in the North 370
(photo credit: Nir Ellias/Reuters)
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.
“We believe these are stray shells, fired in the midst of internal Syrian fighting,” an IDF spokeswoman said.
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.
Also on Thursday, gunfire from Syria wounded two civilians, a woman and a young woman, in Turkey’s Hatay province, a Turkish official said.
Stray bullets fired from the Syrian town of Ras al-Ain struck the two Turks in the border town of Ceylanpinar, just across the border from where Syrian rebels are fighting government forces.
Reuters contributed to this report.