Rocket falls on northern Israel as rocket alert siren blasts in Golan Heights
After initially saying no rockets fell on Israeli territory, IDF confirms errant rocket launched as part of Syrian civil war lands in Israel, triggering alert siren in third straight day; police begin scouring Kinneret amid eyewitness reports that two suspicious objects crashed into the northern water jewel.
A rocket alert siren was sounded in the southern Golan Heights on Wednesday afternoon, with the IDF originally concluding that the siren had been triggered by internal fighting in the Syrian civil war, and later confirming that errant rocket fire had in fact landed in Israeli territory.
The incident came a day after the IDF shot down a Syrian fighter jet that entered Israeli airspace from the northern border.
The IDF began investigating suspicions that the rocket may have landed in the Kinneret, Israel’s northern water jewel.
Locals told the Director of the Gofra Beach in Kinneret that they saw a suspicious object fall into the water, prompting the police to scour the area.
“There were two explosions and we saw a wave of people leave the water,” recalled one Acre resident who was at the beach. “We heard a strong boom that caused a strong wave in the water.”
The police said that they had begun looking for evidence that the rockets had landed in the water, but nothing was found by the early evening. No injuries or damage was reported.
It was the third consecutive day that a siren has been blasted in northern Israel, with the border becoming increasingly volatile as Syrian President Bashar Assad recaptures swathes of rebel-held land in an intensive military offensive, and retakes areas overlooking the Golan Heights.
Damascus confirmed one of its Sukhoi fighter jet was shot down on Tuesday, but insisted it was taking part in operations against rebels over Syrian territory. The plane was said to have entered Israeli territory due to a navigational error.
The plane apparently crashed inside Syria, with Sky News Arabic reporting it went down in the Yarmouk area.
The Israeli military said it monitored the advance of the jet and shot it down with a pair of Patriot missiles after it penetrated Israeli airspace by about two kilometers (1.2 miles).
Israel's army has been on heightened standby amid the rising tensions on its northern frontier and in anticipation of a possible retalitation. The IDF's vigilance was further intensified after a Syrian source warned that the shooting down of the fighter jet will not go unanswered by the regime.
"You will not have to wait long for a response, but we’ll get there in a few steps, firstly we need to finish all the ongoing military operations in the country. The direct response to the Israeli forces will come at an appropriate time. The final step will be thwarting any attempts to remove the Syrian allies from the region," the source said.
“In Tel Aviv they are aware that the situation that was before the civil war is different from what will be after. It must be careful not to ignite the kind of conflagration that it will not be able to extinguish later. Israel shot down the plane knowing it was a Syrian plane in the Syrian airspace," the source added.
The source also noted, however, that Damascus has no intention of rushing into a war with Israel following the downing of the warplane, since currently Syria’s main priority is trying to conclude the military operation against terrorist centers in the south of the country, the Lebanese news website Al-Nusra reported.
On Monday, Israel's launched its "David's Sling" air defence system for its first ever operational mission as a precauation against rockets fired within Syria, setting off sirens in northern Israeli communities, the IDF said.
However, inquiry teams made up of representatives from the manufacturer Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, the Defense Ministry's Missile Defense Organization (MDO) and the Israel Air Force, launched an investigation into the incident and concluded that David's Sling failed its attempt to intercept two Syrian missiles.
David's Sling, which is part of Israel’s multi-layered missile defense program, operates in the layer above the Iron Dome and below the Arrow systems.