Errant Syrian mortar shells land in southern Golan Heights
At least three shells found in an open area just west of the Syria-Israel border; no damage or casualties reported; IDF files complaint with UN observer force on border over incident.
Three mortar shells fired from over the Syrian border landed in the southern Golan Heights Saturday afternoon, landing in an uninhabited area near Moshav Ramat Magshimim and causing no injuries or damage. On Friday, meanwhile, according to Syrian opposition figures, a 2,000-year-old synagogue was destroyed by shelling from forces loyal to President Bashar Assad.
The Israel Defense Forces has filed a complaint with the United Nations oberver force on the border. Sources within the IDF believe that the event is another incident of hostilities between the army of Syrian President Bashar Assad and rebels spilling over the border.
Chaim Dayan, a resident of Bnei Yehuda, which is located slightly west of where the shells fell on Saturday, said that he heard the explosions while driving in the area, and saw the smoke clouds from afar.
“We hear the sounds of firing on the other side of the border all the time. On the weekends, while the IDF isn’t training, we hear them better. At first I thought the shells today landed on the Syrian side of the border. It isn’t nerve racking at all, and there is no sense of fear. Another regular day in the Golan Heights,” Dayan said.
Built in honor of Elijah the Prophet The synagogue that was reportedly destroyed on Friday is located in the Damascus suburb of Jobar and is said to have been built in honor of Elijah the Prophet while he was escaping persecution.
According to tradition, the synagogue stands at the site where Elijah the prophet anointed Elisha as a prophet as well.
Syrian rebels released a video showing the front of the synagogue and the sign in both Arabic and English that reads: "Shrine and Synagogue of Eliyahou Hanabi since 720 B.C."
In the background, one of the rebels can be heard describing the destruction. The synagogue's structure has undergone almost no changes since it was built 2,000 years ago, making it extremely rare both architecturally andhistorically.
The fighting in Syria, which has been raging for roughly two years, has claimed over 70,000 lives and dozens of mosques and churches have been damaged or destroyed. The Assad regime and Syrian rebels often exchange accusations about who is to blame.
Last week, the United Nations reported that the number of Syrians forced out of their homes by the conflict could reach over 1 million.
Last week, an errant Syrian tank shell landed near Alonei Habashan in the Golan Heights. Two residents of the area saw shots fired toward Israel from Syria, and heard a hissing sound accompanying the shots. However, there was no report of any explosion.
The incident took place near the town of Alonei Habashan in the Golan Heights. Israel Defense Forces troops who searched the area found an unexploded tank shell.
In both incidents, the IDF did not return fire. Last November, the IDF did return fire with a Tamuz anti-tank missile after an errant mortar shell fired from Syria landed near an Israeli town in the Golan Heights.