Israeli military responds to fire from Syria

JERUSALEM - Israel’s army said it fired a guided missile into Syria on Sunday, destroying a military post after gunfire flew across the border and struck an Israeli vehicle.

By (AP)

Published: Sun 24 Mar 2013, 6:22 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 5:52 PM

The shooting along the frontier in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights was one of the most serious incidents between the countries since Syria’s civil war erupted two years ago. Israel has carefully watched the violence from the sidelines, but has returned fire on several occasions.

It was not immediately clear whether the Syrian troops had fired into the Golan intentionally or whether the vehicle had been hit by stray gunfire. In either case, Israel said it held Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government responsible.

“The Syrian regime is responsible for every breach of sovereignty. We will not allow the Syrian army or any other groups to violate Israel’s sovereignty in any way,” Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said.

Israel’s military said soldiers were on routine patrol in the Golan when they were fired upon early Sunday, hours after a military vehicle driving along the frontier between the two countries was hit and lightly damaged Saturday evening. It said Israel responded early Sunday with a Tamuz guided missile.

“We were forced to act in a targeted way and to attack and destroy the post from which this (gunfire) took place,” Israeli military chief Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz said Sunday. “We will continue to operate in the Golan Heights with reason and caution, but where determination and assertive and offensive action is needed, that will also take place.”

Israel captured the Golan in the 1967 Mideast war and subsequently annexed the territory in a move that has not been internationally recognised.

Since Syria’s civil war broke out in March 2011, errant mortar shells or machine gun fire have landed in the Golan a number of times. Israel believes most of the cases have been accidental, but it has responded on several occasions.

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