Around 50 people in Syria, some of them armed, neared the Israeli border on Mount Hermon on Wednesday. The IDF evacuated dozens of Israeli vacationers from the Hermon summit area to lower parts of the mountain, and monitored the Syrian group from the Israeli side of the border.
Several of the approaching individuals, dressed as civilians, were armed with machine-guns, and came within a few hundred yards of the border.
The IDF does not believe the people were attempting to infiltrate into Israel. It evacuated Israeli visitors on the mountain, Israel’s highest peak, in accordance with routine military precautions.
Israel began fortifying its border with Syria last month as the latter’s civil war continues. The past two years have seen a number of attempts by Syrians and Palestinian sympathizers to penetrate into Israel, some successful. There have also been a handful of incidences of mortar shells landing in Israel, overshooting areas where Syrian government and rebel forces were fighting.
The IDF Chief of the General Staff, Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz said Thursday, “We’re watching what’s unfolding in Syria.” He said Israel was monitoring President Bashar Assad’s possible loss of control, and was concerned about sensitive weaponry falling into the wrong hands.