GOLAN HEIGHTS - The IDF will investigate this severe incident and examine how the terrorist managed to entered Israeli territory, military officials said Friday, after Israel's eastern border with Syria was breached by an armed Palestinian.
The gunman opened fire on an IDF outpost in the central Golan Heights, but luckily no injuries were reported.
Soldiers apprehended the attacker and an investigation has been launched.
Military officials identified the lone terrorist as a 21-year-old member of Fatah, the party of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, and said the man had planned to abduct an IDF soldier and take him back to Syria.
The gunman, who came from a Palestinian refugee camp in Syria, penetrated a border fence shortly after 7:30 a.m. (12 a.m. EST) and fired nine rounds at an IDF outpost in an attempt to explode a petrol container, army officials said.
Israel’s border with Syria is considered to be the quietest border in the country, as there have been relatively few attack attempts in the region.
An IDF official said they are investigating whether the man may have dug a tunnel from Syrian territory into Israel.
“Tough questions will be asked,” one official said. “The IDF will thoroughly investigate this severe incident, check how the terrorist entered and how we could have prevented this.”
Another officer said they are also looking into the possibility that the soldiers guarding the outpost were lax in terms of their own security.
“The result of the incident is satisfactory, but there is definitely a lot to think about in terms of what could have happened had the terrorist been more professional or had there been more than one terrorist,” the official said.
The incident is the most serious in the region since a shootout between Israeli and Syrian soldiers in January 2003.
Syria claimed at the time that the Syrians who participated in the battle were police officers in civilian clothing, and were in the area in order to draw drinking water from the Yarmouk River.
They said that Israeli soldiers opened fire first, and that the Syrians returned fire, while IDF sources said the Syrians opened fire on Israeli soldiers.
One theory is that the Syrians crossed the border in order to draw water, and opened fire when IDF soldiers noticed them.