Errant rocket from Syria hits Golan Heights

IDF says no injuries or damage reported as projectile lands in open territory

An Israeli soldier stands on top of an armored personnel carrier stationed on the Israeli side of the Golan Heights on August 21, 2015. (AFP Photo/Ahmad Gharabli)
An Israeli soldier stands on top of an armored personnel carrier stationed on the Israeli side of the Golan Heights on August 21, 2015. (AFP Photo/Ahmad Gharabli)

A rocket launched from Syria fell in open territory in the northern Golan Heights on Saturday evening, causing no injuries or damage. Air raid sirens were not triggered in the incident.

The Israel Defense Forces said in a statement that it was likely a result of errant fire from the ongoing civil war in the neighboring country. There have been numerous such incidents since the war began in March 2011.

There have also been targeted attacks against Israel from the Syrian side of the Golan Heights and from Lebanon. Last month, at least four rockets were fired from Syria into the Golan Heights, drawing one of the largest Israeli responses that led to at least six dead and seven injured on the Syrian side.

The six fatalities, said the IDF, included members of the cell responsible for launching the rockets. The IDF said the attack was “deliberate and orchestrated” and pointed the finger at the Palestinian Islamic Jihad working under the direction and funding of Iran.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said at the time that “the Iranian regime, through [the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’] Quds Force, its commander Qassem Suleimani and its emissaries in Syria and Lebanon, is seeking to open a terrorist front against Israel from the Golan Heights.”

The Israeli military said it struck at least 14 sites belonging to the Syrian regime and warned that it “sees Syria as responsible for the fire, and it will pay the price for it.”

The army has also reportedly struck targets inside Syria and near the border to stop weapons transfers to Hezbollah and stymie attacks, including a January strike that left top Hezbollah member Jihad Mughniyeh dead, along with an Iranian general and several other militants. Hezbollah responded with a cross-border attack that killed two IDF soldiers.

Israel has also been watching wearily as Russia sends arms to Syria to bolster the Assad regime, some of which Jerusalem fears may reach Hezbollah.

Last week, at a meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Valdimir Putin, the Israeli leader said Iran and Syria have been arming Hezbollah with advanced weapons, thousands of which are directed at Israeli cities.

“At the same time, Iran, under the auspices of the Syrian army, is attempting to build a second terrorist front against us from the Golan Heights,” he said.

Netanyahu said that he told Putin in “no uncertain terms” that Israel will not tolerate Tehran’s efforts to arm Israel’s enemies in the region, and that Jerusalem has taken and will continue to take action against any such attempts.

“This is our right and also our duty. There were no objections to our rights and to what I said. On the contrary: there was readiness to make sure that whatever Russia’s intentions for Syria, Russia will not be a partner in extreme actions by Iran against us.”

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