Photo: AFP
Security barrier in northern Israel
Photo: AFP

IDF strikes Syrian targets in response to artillery fire in Israeli territory

Hours after 3 Syrian mortar shells were located in Israel Tuesday, likely as a result of fighting in the war-torn country, IDF hits Assad's artillery cannons.

The IDF conducted airstrikes aimed at artillery cannons of the Assad regime in the Syrian part of the Golan Heights Tuesday night. The strikes were a response to 'spillover' rocket fire from Syria into the Israeli Golan which occurred earlier that day.



After a rocket fell on Israeli territory less than 24 hours ago, three more shells from Syria were located in the Golan Heights on Tuesday afternoon. The IDF believes that the mortar fire was likely the result of fighting taking place in the war-torn country. The 'fallout' further intensifies tensions on Israel's northern border after Syria attempted to shoot down an Israeli fighter jet on Monday night.


The rocket fell on open territory close to civilian areas near Kibbutz Ein Zivan located near Route 98, which was temporarily closed by security forces. No injuries were reported as a result of the fire, according to the IDF. The first 'spillover' shell, which was spotted at around 1pm by the IDF, occurred just half a day after IDF planes struck at Syrian artillery cannons, responding to another apparent 'spillover' mortar shell that landed in the Israeli Golan on Monday night.


Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot observes evacuation drill (Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot observes evacuation drill (Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)


In an unusual step, Syrian forces launched two surface-to-air missiles at the Israeli planes but the fighter jets returned to Israel unscathed. "The Air Force planes were far from the source of the fire, which did not constitute a threat to our forces," the IDF Spokesperson's Unit stated. Journalists identified as having ties to the Syrian administration made claims on social media saying that the missiles were of the S-200 model.


Launching these anti-aircraft missiles is considered highly unusual, as the Syrian military has refrained from such moves during previous Israeli strikes in the Syrian Golan Heights.


Israeli fighter jets are sent to the Syrian Golan several times a month in order where they conduct reconnaissance flights for suspicious elements. In the vast majority of cases however, they return without needing to strike or intercept any targets.


The Syrian military had previously advertised a false claim of downing the IAF jets. "The Syrian military's aerial defense means have intercepted the planes and downed a fighter jet in southwestern Quneitra, and a drone west of the town of Sa'sa,” the statement said. The Syrian military further claimed that, "At 1am, aircraft of the Israeli Air Force attacked one of the military outposts in the outskirts of Quneitra."


Evacuation drill in the western Galilee (Photo: Avihu Shapira)
Evacuation drill in the western Galilee (Photo: Avihu Shapira)


With tensions mounting on the northern border and Israel weary of a potential escalation with its northern neighbors, the IDF conducted a civilian evacuation drill in the western Galilee region. The 91st Division, in conjunction with local municipal authorities and national emergency authorities simulated an evacuation of residents from the border-adjacent town of Ya'ara, which is home to a population of several hundred.


The evacuation was intended to prepare the residents for such potential scenarios during times of time of war, and a rehearsal which stems from lessons learned by the IDF – specifically, the Home Front Command – after the Second Lebanon War and Operation Protective Edge. It included coordinating between the residents an authorities of the evacuated towns and the authorities in the towns to which they are being evacuated.


On Tuesday afternoon, the Syrian Foreign Ministry wrote to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the president of the UN Security Council. “The news Israeli aggression is an attempt to heighten the lowered morale of terror organizations…,” the statement read.


“Syria demands that the UN Security Council takes appropriate steps in order to punish aggressive Israel, and to force it to stop its aggression without delay and to stop supporting and protecting terrorists," it continued. 


פרסום ראשון: 09.13.16, 17:34
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