IDF: 2 projectiles fired at Mt. Hermon from Syria; no injuries reported
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IDF: 2 projectiles fired at Mt. Hermon from Syria; no injuries reported

Military says it is still investigating launches, which come days after Syrian air defense battery fired at Israeli jet

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

An Israeli military position, right, is seen on the top of Mount Hermon in the Golan Heights, where the borders between Israel, Syria and Lebanon meet. April 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)
An Israeli military position, right, is seen on the top of Mount Hermon in the Golan Heights, where the borders between Israel, Syria and Lebanon meet. April 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

Two rockets were fired from Syria toward Israel’s Mount Hermon in the Golan Heights on Saturday night, the military said.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage. The Israel Defense Forces said it was still investigating the matter.

It was not immediately clear if both projectiles landed inside Israeli territory. The military was also checking if the rocket fire was intentionally directed at Israel and if so by whom. There has been no fighting reported in the area around the Syrian-Israeli border in recent days, indicating this was not likely the result of errant fire from internal battles.

The incoming rockets did not trigger alert sirens. These alarms are typically only activated in cases where a projectile is heading toward a populated area, rather than an open field.

The launches came less than a week after a limited clash between Israel and Syria.

On Monday, a Syrian anti-aircraft battery fired at an Israeli fighter jet that was flying within Israeli airspace. Shortly afterward, in response, the IDF attacked the battery and destroyed it, reportedly killing a Syrian officer and soldier. A military vehicle was also said damaged in the attack.

Saturday night’s rockets appeared to be a relatively long range variety, reportedly fired from the Damascus area, some 35 kilometers (22 miles) away, similar to an attack earlier this year aimed at the Hermon.

The Hermon is located in the northern tip of Israel’s Golan Heights. In addition to a popular ski resort, the area is also home to a number of military installations.

In January, Iranian troops in Syria fired a medium-range, Iranian-made missile at Mount Hermon in what the IDF said at the time was a “premeditated” attack aimed at deterring Israel from conducting airstrikes against the Islamic republic’s troops and proxies in Syria.

The incoming projectile was shot down by Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system.

Last Saturday, Syria said its air defenses shot down a number of missiles fired from Israel, a day after making a similar claim.

SANA said the Syrian military intercepted “hostile targets coming from the direction of occupied territories.” Syrian state TV said the missiles were shot down over Quneitra and near Damascus.

The night before, Syrian state TV reported sounds of explosions near the capital, and aired footage of what it claimed were air defenses intercepting missiles fired from Israeli jets seen over Quneitra.

“Aerial defenses detected hostile targets coming from the direction of Quneitra and dealt with them,” SANA quoted a military source as saying.

A picture taken on July 26, 2018, near Ein Zivan in the Israeli Golan Heights, shows smoke rising above buildings across the border in Syria during airstrikes backing a government-led offensive in the southern province of Quneitra. (AFP/Jack Guez)

There was no response from the IDF to those reports. Israel rarely comments on individual strikes in Syria.

Toward the start of the Syrian civil war, the Israeli military established a number of “red lines” that if violated would result in a retaliatory strike, including any attacks — intentional or otherwise — against Israel.

They also included Iranian efforts to establish a permanent military presence in Syria and attempts to transfer advanced munitions to the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terrorist group.

In recent years, Israel has acknowledged conducting hundreds of airstrikes in Syria in response to these “red line” violations.

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