IAF aircraft retaliated early Wednesday morning for an attack on an Israeli patrol near the Israeli-Syrian border, bombing several Syrian positions in the Golan Heights, the army spokesperson said.
According to the IDF, Israel targeted a Syrian army training facility, military headquarters and artillery batteries that “aided and abetted” the roadside bombing attack, which injured four soldiers, one of them seriously.
In a sharply worded statement, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon confirmed that Israeli warplanes had bombed “several targets associated with the Syrian army and defense establishment that aided and abetted yesterday’s terror attack,” and issued a pointed warning to Syrian President Bashar Assad, whom he blamed for the attack.
“We won’t tolerate any breach of our sovereignty or attacks against our soldiers and civilians,” Yaalon said. “We will react with might and resolve against anyone who acts against us, no matter where and when, as we demonstrated last night. Anyone who tries to attack us will be signing their own death sentence.”
The defense minister went on to declare that if the Syrian president “will continue to cooperate with terror elements that aspire to harm the State of Israel, we will continue to exact from him a heavy price in a manner that will make him regret his actions.”
The IDF spokesperson tweeted earlier that Israel held the Syrian military responsible for Tuesday’s attack, which occurred near Majdal Shams. One of the soldiers injured in the incident suffered from serious head and chest wounds and remained in intensive care overnight at Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center after having undergone surgery.
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) March 19, 2014
The soldiers’ patrol jeep apparently ran over a bomb. Light arms fire was also directed at the patrol, according to Maariv.
The military initially 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.”
A similar attack in December, in the same area, caused damage to a military jeep but resulted in no casualties.
Tuesday’s incident follows an attack on Friday, which took place in the Har Dov area in the north, where 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.