At least two mortar shells were fired Saturday into Israeli territory in the Mount Hermon region in the Golan Heights.
According to assessments they were stray mortars mistakenly fired at Israel
as part of the Syrian conflict between rebels and government forces. No injuries or damage were reported.
In wake of the incident, the IDF
has decided to close off the upper part of the Mount Hermon site to visitors and IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz held
an emergency assessment meeting with senior IDF officials. In the meanwhile, Israel has lodged a complaint with the Golan-based UN peacekeeping force.
Entrance to Mount Hermon site (Photo: Avihu Shapira)
During the last year, the civil war raging between Syrian rebels and forces loyal to President Bashar Assad
has occasionally spilled into the Golan Heights and numerous incidents of either mortar or bullet fire entering into Israel have been registered.
Almost all of the incidents ended without injuries or damages; and in the cases when damages were sustained they were mostly light and minor.
IDF soldier at Mount Hermon (Photo: Avihu Shapira)
However, there is a fear that the Syrian Golan will become a lawless no man's land, presenting a direct threat to Israel as terrorists
are making the place their home.
Last week, two mortars
fell in the Golan Heights; they were fired last Monday afternoon during battles between the Syrian army and rebels and exploded in an open area near the border fence in the southern Golan Heights region, near Ramat Magshimim. Another mortar landed in Syrian territory.
The IDF did not return fire, and amid heightened tensions following the alleged Israeli airstrikes in Syria,
the IDF's Northern Command and Operations Directorate decided on Sunday to significantly downsize the annual military exercise that was scheduled to begin in the north of the country in the coming days.
On Tuesday, an additional mortar
shell exploded in Israel; in this case as well no injuries or damages were sustained.
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