Two IDF soldiers were hurt Wednesday after two mortar shells fired from Syrian territory landed near their position in the Golan Heights.
One soldier suffered light injuries from shrapnel and was taken by ambulance to a local hospital. The second soldier suffered shock and was treated on site.
Israel Radio reported that, according to an IDF assessment, the mortar fire was not aimed at Israel, but rather was errant shells from fighting between the Syrian army and rebel forces.
The incident marked the first time IDF soldiers are known to have been injured in the overspill from the Syrian civil war.
Late last month, an Israeli army patrol took fire along the Syrian border in the northern Golan Heights. No injuries were reported in that incident.
Heavy fighting has been reported near the border for the last several days. On Tuesday, a group of shepherds fleeing the fighting crossed into Israel, but were sent back by IDF forces who intercepted them.
“The heavy battles are happening in the area around the north Golan in the village of Jubata al Khashab, and there have been heard many explosions from falling mortars,” a defense official told Maariv.
UN Middle East envoy Robert Serry told the Security Council last month that fighting on the Israel-Syria border could “jeopardize the ceasefire” between Jerusalem and Damascus that has been in place since 1974, monitored by UN peacekeepers.
Also last month, several mortal shells fired from Syrian territory landed in the Golan Heights, with one striking an IDF lookout post at Tel Fares. No injuries or damage were reported in that incident.
Since the start of the civil war in Syria in March 2011, dozens of mortar shells have landed in Israeli territory. In the past, Israel filed a complaint with the UN peacekeeping forces in the Golan, requesting that it bring an end to the cross-border shelling.
In mid-August, after 10 shells landed in Israeli territory, the IDF launched a Tammuz missile, destroying a Syrian cannon that had fired at Israel.