IDF jeep on Golan Heights hit by stray bullets fired in Syria

Shots came from clashes between rebels and Assad regime forces; vehicle damaged, but no injuries reported

Aaron Kalman is a former writer and breaking news editor for the Times of Israel

An Israeli tank overlooks the demilitarized zone from the Golan Heights (photo credit: Yossi Zamir/Flash90)
An Israeli tank overlooks the demilitarized zone from the Golan Heights (photo credit: Yossi Zamir/Flash90)

An Israeli army jeep stationed in the Golan Heights was hit by stray gunfire from Syria on Monday evening.

Several bullets, evidently fired during clashes between rebels and government forces on the other side of the Syrian frontier, hit the IDF vehicle.

No injuries were reported in the incident.

The army dispatched soldiers to the area and was investigating the scene of the incident, an IDF statement said. In addition, Israel filed a complaint with UN observers.

The vehicle, which belongs to the Golani Reconnaissance Battalion commander, was lightly damaged.

The incident took place during a routine army patrol along the Israeli-Syrian border. The officer and the other soldiers in the jeep were not hit.

According to Ynet, a Syrian opposition source reported shortly after the incident that two Syrians were killed when the village of Bir Ajam, located in the Demilitarized Zone between Israel and Syria, was shelled by Syrian Army forces.

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The incident marked the second dramatic spillover of fighting from Syria into Israel in days. On Saturday, three Syrian tanks entered the demilitarized zone between the two countries. That incident — the first such border violation in 40 years — was not regarded as an incident of hostility toward Israel. Rather, the Syrian tanks were apparently facing off against Syrian rebel forces. Still, the IDF raised its alert level in the area.

On Sunday, Israel’s Chief of General Staff Benny Gantz visited troops stationed in the Golan Heights and told them to stay on alert in case of further spillover from the fighting. “It is a Syrian issue, but it can become ours,” he told a group of officers.

In September a number of mortars fired by regime forces landed in the north of the Golan Heights, and in another incident Syrian soldiers entered the demilitarized zone.

Fighting in Syria started in March 2011 as a revolt against President Bashar Assad, and the ongoing civil war has claimed the lives of more than 36,000, according to opposition sources.

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