Israeli Army Says Thwarted Attempt to Plant Explosives on Syrian Border

Military identifies squad of four on the Israeli side of the Syrian border ■ Army estimates all four were killed in the incident

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An IDF tank unit near the border with Lebanon, July 2020.
An IDF tank unit near the border with Lebanon, July 2020.Credit: AFP

The Israeli army said it struck four operatives who attempted to plant explosives along the Syria-Israel border on Sunday night. The military did not officially confirm their deaths, however it estimated all four were killed.

Israeli forces identified the squad near an army outpost in the southern Golan Heights that once housed a field hospital for Syrian refugees, according to the army.

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Troops and aircraft "fired simultaneously toward a cell of four terrorists, a hit was identified," the army said in a statement. The strike was carried out before the group managed to cross the border fence into Israel, the army confirmed, adding that there were no Israeli casualties in the incident.

IDF documentation of four operatives allegedly attempting to plant explosives on the Syria border

IDF spokesperson Hidai Zilberman said on Monday morning that military observation units had been on high alert in the area, after identifying suspicious activity in recent days, with people getting close to the separation dressed as shepherds. They noticed movement on the Syrian side of the border at 8 P.M. on Sunday night and then again at 11 P.M., this time on the Israeli side.

Civilians do not have access to that specific area, the army spokesperson added, which means the squad targeted Israeli soldiers.

There was no immediate comment from Syria. The Israeli military said it as yet no confirmation as to which organization might have attempted to carry out the attack, adding it holds the Syrian government responsible for everything emanating from its territory.

Zilberman said the IDF could not link the event to the ongoing tensions with Lebanese Shi'ite militant organization Hezbollah.

In recent weeks, tensions on Israel's northern border have run high since Hezbollah vowed to avenge the death of one of its fighter who was killed an airstrike on pro-Iranian militants in Syria that a war monitoring group has attributed to Israel.

Israel has since boosted its forces on its northern front, where it borders Lebanon and Syria. Last week, Israel said it thwarted an attack by a Hezbollah squad who attempted infiltrating the border from Lebanon.

Israel also hit several Hamas facilities in Gaza on Sunday night, after a rocket was fired from the strip into Israel, triggering alert sirens. The rocket was intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.

Smoke rises above a Shaba Farms village in southern Lebanon following an exchange of fire between Israel and Hezbollah, July 27, 2020.Credit: Gil Eliahu

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