Israel retaliates after Syrian shells hit Golan Heights

Published August 18th, 2013 - 07:06 GMT
Israeli army Armored Personnel Carriers maneuver during a military exercise near the northern border with Syria on June 25, 2013. (AFP/File)
Israeli army Armored Personnel Carriers maneuver during a military exercise near the northern border with Syria on June 25, 2013. (AFP/File)

The Israeli military fired retaliatory shells into Syria on Saturday after shells from across the border hit the Israeli-occupied sector of the Golan Heights on Saturday, an Israeli military spokesman said. 

"Today, several shells fired from Syria landed in the central Golan heights, adjacent to the Israel-Syria border," he told AFP.

The Israeli armed "forces carried out a pinpoint strike, targeting the source of the shooting. A hit was confirmed," AFP reported.

A spokesman for the Israeli army said at least three shells, fired from Syria, had hit the Israeli territory. He could not comment on whether the Israeli authorities were treating the shells as a deliberate attack or a rogue spillover from the conflict in Syria, according to AFP. 

Shortly after the retaliatory fire, the Israeli army radio reported that the attack had demolished a key Syrian military position. 

A defence source told AFP the Israeli response occurred after Israel filed a complaint to the UN Disengagement Observer Force, which monitors the 1974 ceasefire line between Israel and Syria in the Golan Heights, AFP reported.

The Golan Heights has been a sensitive issue since the outbreak of the conflict in Syria in 2011, but so far only minor incidents have occurred in the area, such as low-level amounts of Syrian mortar straying across the border. This has prompted an occassional Israeli response. 

Israel, which is technically at war with Syria, seized 1,200 square kilometres (460 square miles) of the strategic plateau during the 1967 Six-Day War, which it later annexed in a move never recognised by the international community, according to AFP.


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