A mortar shell, apparently errant fire from Syria, struck the central Golan Heights on Monday, the Israel Defense Forces said. Israeli jets responded with fire toward the launch site of the shell.
The shell hit “an open area near the security fence,” the army said, likely referring to Israel’s border fence along the Golan’s demilitarized zone. There were no reports of injuries.
The strike came amid reports of increased fighting between the Syrian regime and rebels in the area around Quneitra, in the demilitarized zone.
An IDF statement shortly after the incident said, “The IAF has successfully targeted the source of the fire in Syria. The Syrian government is responsible for all fire from Syria and the IDF will continue to act in order to preserve Israeli sovereignty and safeguard Israel.”
Syrian opposition reports said mortars were being fired by armed groups at the village of Medinat al-Ba’ath, near the border with Israel.
Clashes between Nusra Front and Assad regime forces in that area last week generated an apparently false report of an Israeli airstrike in the vicinity.
Some opposition reports indicated that the mortars are being fired by Nusra, al-Qaeda’s Syria affiliate.
The IDF often responds to fire that crosses into Israel by striking Syrian army posts.
Last Sunday, the IDF said that it failed in three attempts to shoot down an unidentified drone aircraft that entered Israeli airspace from Syria earlier in the day.
Alongside two Patriot surface-to-air missiles the army announced it had fired — and which were clearly visible in the sky — a military official told Channel 2 television that a third attempt came from an air-to-air missile fired by an Israeli fighter jet.
According to the IDF, the origin of the drone wasn’t clear, but the army was trying to ascertain whether it had been sent by the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror group, which is currently fighting alongside the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
The Israeli Air Force scrambled fighter jets in the Golan Heights last Sunday following the launch, the Ynet news website reported at the time. The launches triggered air raid alarms across northern Israel. No rockets were known to have been fired into Israeli territory during the infiltration.
Israel has shot down drone and fighter aircraft that have crossed or flown along the border with Syria several times in recent years. The IDF downed a drone in August 2014 and a Syrian fighter aircraft in September of the same year.