Israeli Jet Reportedly Strikes Syrian Army Near Golan, Rebels Say

Hezbollah says explosions in Quneitra were likely caused by Nusra Front and not an Israeli strike.

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Smoke rising following an explosion in Syria's Quneitra province as Syrian rebels clashed with President Bashar Assad’s force, Aug. 28, 2014.
Smoke rising following an explosion in Syria's Quneitra province as Syrian rebels clashed with President Bashar Assad’s force, Aug. 28, 2014.Credit: AP

An air strike said to have been carried out by an Israeli jet hit a Syrian army post near the Syrian side of Golan Heights on Wednesday, two Syrian rebel sources told Reuters.

The Israeli army refused to comment on the report. Hezbollah, meanwhile, said that the explosions in the Golan Heights were caused by Nusra Front and not an Israeli strike. Later, Hezbollah's Al-Manar TV said Syrian government troops retaliated, hitting a Nusra Front vehicle from which the rockets were fired.

In recent weeks, there has been increased fighting in the Syrian border town of Quneitra. Israel has never publicly admitted to carrying out any such attacks in the past.

Syrian government forces battle rebel fighters, near the Quneitra border crossing, September 1, 2014. Credit: AFP

According to Reuters, it was not immediately clear what the exact target of the strike might have been, but rebels operating in the region say the Hezbollah, which fought a month-long war with Israel in 2006, has a presence there.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group reported a large explosion in the provincial capital, Baath City.

On Sunday, the Israeli military unsuccessfully tried to intercept an unmanned aerial vehicle that breached its airspace. The drone entered 4 kilometers deep into Israeli territory before returning to Syria.

Earlier Wednesday, an Israel Defense Forces' outpost sustained cross-border gunfire in the north early Wednesday morning. No soldiers were injured, but two direct hits were reported at the Narkis outpost near the northern city of Metula.

According to Haaretz's senior military analyst, vestiges of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s hold on the Syrian Golan disappeared two years ago. The Syrian army maintains a marginal presence a distance from the border at Quneitra, and the Druze village of Khadr to the north is controlled by local militias that communicate with the regime.

Most of the cross-border incidents in the north in the past two years were orchestrated by Iran, Israel's defense officials have said in the past. In the most recent incident, in August 2015, a Palestinian Islamic Jihad cell in the Quneitra area operated by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard fired rockets at Kibbutz Ein Zivan and Kibbutz Kfar Szold.

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