Israel fires warning shots into Syria after Golan shelling 12Nov12 November 12, 2012

Ma’an News Agency   -    11 November 2012

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli forces fired “warning shots” into Syria on Sunday after stray mortar fire from fighting between Syrian forces and rebels hit the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, Israel’s military said.

A statement said soldiers fired warning shots toward Syrian areas after a mortar shell hit an army post in the Golan Heights adjacent to the Israel-Syria border.

“The IDF has filed a complaint through the UN forces operating in the area, stating that fire emanating from Syria into Israel will not be tolerated and shall be responded to with severity,” it said.

There were no reports of injury or damage.

Earlier Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak threatened to respond should stray Syrian ordnance continue to strike the Israeli-occupied Golan.

“The message has certainly been relayed. To tell you confidently that no shell will fall? I cannot. If a shell falls, we will respond,” Barak told Israel’s Army Radio, without elaborating.

A Syrian mortar bomb, one of a salvo, hit an Israeli settlement on the Golan on Thursday but did not explode. Earlier this month, Israel complained to the United Nations after three Syrian tanks entered a Golan demilitarized zone. Israel also said a stray Syrian bullet hit one its army jeeps on patrol.

Israel has tried to stay out of the 19-month-old Syrian insurgency, reluctant to be drawn into another war and unclear about whether a post-Assad Syria might prove more hostile.

But Barak said on Thursday he hoped the rebels would win, Assad would fall and that “a new stage in the life of Syria will begin”.

Israel’s military chief, Lt-Gen. Benny Gantz, warned troops on the Golan Heights a week ago: “This is a Syrian issue that could become our issue.”


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