Golan Heights hit by 10 mortars from Syria
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Golan Heights hit by 10 mortars from Syria

None hurt by fallout from intensified battles between Syrian army and rebels; defense minister says Israel will respond if its interests are threatened

A UN soldier looks through binoculars towards Syria from an observation point on Mt. Bental in the Golan Heights as smoke rises from nearby fighting in Syria, Friday, June 7, 2013 (photo credit: AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
A UN soldier looks through binoculars towards Syria from an observation point on Mt. Bental in the Golan Heights as smoke rises from nearby fighting in Syria, Friday, June 7, 2013 (photo credit: AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

Ten mortar shells exploded on the Israeli side of the Golan Heights from early Tuesday morning. No casualties or damage were reported from the fire, and the IDF issued no special security instructions for residents of the area.

According to the IDF, the shelling was not directed at Israel, but was fired as part of the fighting currently raging in the nearby Syrian village of al-Madriya, where rebels are clashing with Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime forces.

The IDF reported that it had filed a complaint with the UN peacekeeping forces in the Golan and requested that they bring an end to the cross-border shelling.

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Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Tuesday that Israel will not hesitate to respond to fire with fire. “Once attacks from Syria endanger us or violate our sovereignty — we will identify the source of fire and destroy it,” Ya’alon said.

“We have set up red lines to protect our interests,” he added.

In the past, Israel has shot missiles at Syrian army positions in response to other incidents of errant mortar fire.

The fighting along the Israeli border has increased in recent days, especially in the villages across the border from the northern Golan area.

The IDF has been expanding its forces on the Golan Heights in recent years, an effort that has included the construction of a more advanced border fence and the deployment of additional intelligence-gathering capabilities and ground forces.

The army also recently announced it would station a new unit to guard the border with Syria.

The two-year Syrian civil war has cost as many as 100,000 lives, according to human rights groups and diplomats following the conflict.

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