Israel Attacks in Syria After Errant Fire From Quneitra Hits Israeli Golan

None hurt, no damage caused after mortar explodes across from key border city of Quneitra.

Noa Shpigel
Gili Cohen
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UN vehicles drive in Syria, near the border fence with the Israeli Golan Heights, August 31, 2014.Credit: Reuters
Noa Shpigel
Gili Cohen

Israel hit targets in Syria on Monday after mortars exploded on the Israeli side of the Golan Heights, most likely a result of errant fire from the Syrian war raging across the border. No one was injured and no damage was caused.

The mortars exploded across from the key border city of Quneitra, which has been scene to ongoing fighting between pro-regime forces and Syrian rebels. In recent weeks, there has been increased fighting in the Syrian border town of Quneitra.

According to the Israeli army, the mortars exploded near the border fence and the IAF hit the "point of origin" of the fire, with sources in Syria identifying the targets as two military outposts belonging to the Syrian army in the town of Al Ba'ath near Quneitra.

Syrian army told Reuters that the attack was carried out by two Israeli reconnaissance planes and denied claims they targeted military sites, saying they hit a residential building in Baath City in Syrian Golan, causing material damage but hurting no one. The army statement, carried on state news agency SANA and quoted by Reuters, said the strikes on the city, held by government forces, were aimed at "raising the morale of terrorist groups it (Israel) supported" after losses inflicted by the Syrian army.

Israel's army said in a statement that "the IDF sees the Syrian regime as responsibly for the activities perpetrated in its area and will not tolerate any attempt to infringe on Israeli sovereignty."

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

Last 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.

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.