Four Israel Defense Forces soldiers were wounded on Tuesday when their patrol jeep apparently ran over a bomb near the Israel-Syria border. The army initially said three soldiers were lightly to moderately injured but later announced that there was a fourth soldier wounded and that he was in “severe” condition.
The incident occurred near Majdal Shams, and the soldiers were evacuated to Rambam Hospital in Haifa. They were apparently hit after they spotted a suspicious person near the fence and approached to investigate.
Light arms fire was also apparently directed at the patrol, according to Maariv.
The military reportedly returned artillery fire into Syria, hitting sites in the nearby city of Quneitra, including a Syrian army base. “The IDF retaliated toward Syrian Military positions,” the army said in a statement.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the attack came amid a recent influx of “jihadists and Hezbollah members” near Syria’s border with Israel, which he said “poses a new challenge.”
Netanyahu, who spoke at a meeting of his Likud faction, added, “In the past few years, we’ve succeeded in keeping the peace in the face of the civil war in Syria, and here too we will act forcefully to maintain Israel’s security.”
The IDF announced in a tweet that it held the Syrian army responsible for the attack.
A similar attack in December in the same area caused damage to a military jeep but resulted in no casualties.
The incident follows an attack on Friday, which took place in the Har Dov area in the north, when terrorists penetrated hundreds of meters into Israel and planted two small IED bombs in front of an army jeep.
That blast damaged the jeep and caused light injuries to its occupants. Three soldiers were taken to a hospital to rule out any internal injuries from the blast. The blast was originally reported to have taken place along the border.
On Friday in retaliation for the attack, the IDF fired on several targets across the Lebanese border, including tank fire at a Hezbollah position in the village Kfar Kileh.