Photo: AFP
IDF forces stationed on the Syrian border (Archive)
Photo: AFP

Two exploded rockets found on Mount Hermon

Syrian spillover or deliberate Hezbollah attack? IDF remains uncertain after exploded rockets found.

Blast sounds heard near Israel's border with Syria Friday night were the result of rocket fire.



Two rockets exploded near an IDF outpost on Mount Hermon, it was discovered Saturday morning. No damage or injuries were caused.


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Muffled blast sounds were heard Friday night in the area surrounding Mount Hermon, but only after rockets were found Saturday could suspicions be confirmed.


At first it was thought the rockets were 'spillover' from the internal Syrian conflict, but later the possibility that the rockets were fired by Hezbollah in response to Israel's alleged airstrike on its munitions last week was raised.


Lebanese paper Al Hayat reported that Lebanon's President Michel Sulieman met with a Hezbollah-affiliated minister and requested that Hezbollah refrain from retaliating to Israel's alleged attack. Earlier in the week it was reported the Israel passed a message to Lebanon according to which it views it as responsible for Hezbollah and any activities the group undertakes on Lebanese soil.


Business as usual

Despite the rocket fire, it was business as usual in the area, which despite lack of snow – and thus lack of ski – still attracts no small number of visitors.


Head of the Hermon site, Shaul Ohana, told Ynet the some 100 visitors arrived Saturday. "We didn't get any special instructions from the army… it's business as usual here."


This is the second time the Hermon has been under fire in recent years. Last May two mortars fell on the Hermon and it was believes they were intended for Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces. At the time, no damage or injuries were caused as a result.


The tensions on the northern border following Israel's alleged strike in Lebanon have not skipped over the Golan Heights – home of the Hermon.


The IDF Northern Command's decision to raise the level of alert fearing a Hezbollah retaliation also affects the border with Syria, which has turned into a border as dangerous and as sensitive as the Lebanese border.


Troops on the Golan Heights were also instructed to raise the level of alert out of concern retaliatory strikes will come from the Syrian side of the border.


The IDF is worried that it would be the global Jihad, currently fighting against Assad and Hezbollah in both Syria and Lebanon, will take advantage of the rising tensions to fire rockets at northern Israel and with that drag Israel into an armed confrontation against Hassan Nasrallah's organization.


The rising tensions also led the IDF to change the type of vehicles used by troops patrolling the border.


The troops securing the border were given armor protected Hummers instead of the light defenders the soldiers used to patrol the border fence with. This was done out of concern troops will be hit with explosive devices, like an incident that occurred two months ago on the northern Golan Heights. That explosion may not have caused any casualties, but the patrolling jeep was damaged.


The Hermon Division, which is stationed on the border triangle between Israel, Syria and Lebanon, says that the new, recently completed, border fence prevents any criminal smuggling attempts in the Majdal Shams area.


Despite that, commanders in the divisions are worried that there will be more attempts to target soldiers: "It's only a matter of time until the next explosive device incident. We still don't know who is responsible for the last incident two months ago."


Assad's forces still rule over the northern Golan, unlike most areas near the border that have been taken by the rebels. The battles happen right in front of the IDF's eyes, and for a while now include more than just machine guns, tanks and cannons.


Syrian Air Force planes are dropping bombs from a distance on villages near the border that have been taken by the rebels. The increased movement of Syrian fighter jets led in recent months to many incidents in which IAF planes were launched against them. In all of these cases, as far as we know, these launches ended without confrontation.


Roi Kais and Ahiya Raved contributed to this report.


פרסום ראשון: 03.01.14, 21:56
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