Syria Rockets on Golan Likely Fired by Palestinian Factions, Israel Says

Assessment says rockets were not launched by Assad forces, although precise identity of those responsible is not yet clear.

Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen
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Rocket land site in Golan Heights, July 14, 2014.Credit: Gil Eliyahu
Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen

The firing of five rockets at Israel Saturday night in the Golan Heights was intentional, not a part of ongoing exchanges between the Syrian army and rebels fighting the Assad regime, a defense establishment source said. The assessment is that the rockets were launched not by Assad forces but by a Palestinian faction, although the precise identity of those responsible is not yet clear.

The rockets were launched from an abandoned Syrian position and Assad forces opened fire on it immediately afterwards. They also informed the UNIFIL peacekeeping forces of the incident in order to relay this to Israel. It is thought that this was done to harm the faction responsible for the fire, and to clarify that the Syrian army was not involved. Israel did not respond to the shooting.

The five 122-mm rockets were launched at 1:30 A.M., landing on the Golan Heights. No one was hurt and military and police forces scoured the area to locate the exact points of impact. Only two of the rockets have been located so far.

This was the second instance of rocket firing from Syria since the fighting in Gaza began. The first incident occurred five weeks ago, when a rocket landed in an open area, close to an IDF outpost. That incident was also considered intentional, and the IDF responded by firing several missiles at targets in Syria. An errant shell fired from Syria landed in Israel last week and the army responded by firing a Tammuz rocket at a Syrian position close to the source of the shooting, apparently hitting its target. This was done following several earlier shooting incidents and after a complaint was lodged with UN forces on the Syrian border.