Israel said on Monday that it will complain to the United Nations over what it said was Syria's use of demonstrators to challenge Israel's sovereignty, following violent clashes Sunday along the border between Syria and Israel in the Golan Heights.
The complaint would focus on Syria's "manipulation of its own citizens to generate violent incidents at the border," Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said. UN chief Ban Ki-moon said live Israeli fire had caused casualties and UN monitors were "seeking to confirm facts".
Israeli Civil Defence Minister Matan Vilnai said "you cannot reach the Syrian-Israeli border from the Syrian side without clear instructions and approvals from the government in Damascus."
Syria said on Monday that 23 people were killed in Sunday's "Naksa Day" rally, commemorating 44 years since the 1967 Six-Day War. Israel captured Syria's Golan Heights in that conflict, as well as the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Official Syrian news agency SANA quoted Health Minister Wael al-Halki as saying the death toll included a woman and a child, adding that another 350 people suffered gunshot wounds.
The IDF said that since all the casualties were on the Syrian side of the border it was unable to provide an exact count, but it expressed great skepticism about the Syrian figures. Soldiers fired "with precision" at the bottom half of the bodies of the protesters, the army said.
Channel 10 reported that an initial IDF inquiry into Sunday's events found that up to ten Syrian protesters had been killed when Molotov cocktails which the protesters had been throwing set off an anti-tank minefield.
The army accused the Syrian government of creating a deliberate provocation in an effort to divert world attention from its ongoing bloody repression of pro-democracy protests at home.
Senior officials in Jerusalem placed the responsibility for Sunday's violence on the Syrian police.
"Syria is trying to divert attention from the massacre that [Syria] is carrying out against its citizens with the provocation on the border," a senior official said. "We sent messages in recent days to both Syria and Lebanon. Lebanon prevented the protests, but Syria decided to carry out a provocation."
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