Israel hits Syrian artillery that fired on Golan

Mon Nov 12, 2012 10:09am EST
 

By Crispian Balmer

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel's army fired tank shells into Syria on Monday and scored "direct hits" in response to a Syrian mortar shell that struck the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, the Israeli military said in a statement.

It was the second time in as many days that Israel had fired across the disengagement line drawn at the end of a war in 1973, underscoring international fears that Syria's civil war could ignite a broader regional conflict.

Israeli military sources said Syrian mobile artillery was directly hit in the incident. There was no immediate word on whether it had been in the hands of Syrian army forces or the rebels they are battling.

On Sunday the military said it had a fired a guided missile into Syria in a potent "warning shot" after errant mortar fire had fallen on land that Israel seized in a 1967 war.

On Monday Israel upped the ante and carried through with a threat to target directly anyone firing across the lines.

"A short while ago, a mortar shell hit an open area in the vicinity of an (Israeli Defense Forces) post in the central Golan Heights, as part of the internal conflict inside Syria, causing no damage or injuries," the military statement said.

"In response, IDF soldiers fired tank shells towards the source of the fire, confirming direct hits. The IDF has filed a complaint with the U.N. forces operating in the area, stating that fire emanating from Syria into Israel will not be tolerated and shall be responded to with severity."

Syrian rebels fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad have been battling his army for months in towns inside and adjacent to the Area of Separation between Israel and Syria, along the disengagement line from the 1973 war.   Continued...