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-controlled Golan Heights, the Israeli military said in a statement.
Israeli military sources said Syrian mobile artillery was directly hit in the incident.
It was the second time in two days that Israel has responded to what it said was errant Syrian fire. On Sunday the military said it had a fired a “warning shot” across the disengagement line, while on Monday it said it had fired back at “the source”.
Military sources would not say if the mortar bomb was fired by Syrian army forces or by the rebels they are battling in and around the United Nations’ patrolled area of separation.
“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 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.”
Syrian rebels fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad have been fighting his army for months in towns inside and adjacent to the Area of Separation between Israel and Syria, along the disengagement line drawn at the end of their 1973 war.
Technically the countries are still at war, but the Golan, a strategic plateau Israel captured in 1967, has been largely quiet for decades.