Mortar shells from Syria fall on Golan Heights

No injuries reported; another wounded Syrian treated in Israel

Israeli infantry soldiers training in the Golan Heights earlier this month. (photo credit: Flash90)
Israeli infantry soldiers training in the Golan Heights earlier this month. (photo credit: Flash90)

A mortar shell fired from Syria fell Thursday evening near Kibbutz El-Rom on the Golan Heights. There were no initial reports of injuries or damage.

Later in the evening, another mortar shell landed in the Golan Heights.

The mortar shells were likely rounds misfired by the combatants in the Syrian civil war as they struggle bitterly for control over the country.

Mortar shells have struck Israel several times over the past year as fighting in the Syrian conflict has spilled over into Israel, though they largely tailed off during June. The rockets and small arms fire are usually assumed to be errant strikes, but Syria recently boasted that it had retaliated against Israel for reported air strikes against Damascus weapons sites last month.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon has vowed to respond to spillover of the Syrian civil war into Israel, and the IDF has shot at Syrian army positions in the past after incidents of cross-border fire.

Also Thursday, a 16-year-old boy injured in the fighting in Syria was evacuated to the Ziv Medical Center in Safed in moderate to serious condition. He suffered from gunshot wounds to his pelvis and thigh.

The boy is the latest in a steady trickle of civilians to receive treatment in Israel.

Last week, a handwritten doctor’s note was found attached to the clothing of a Syrian man brought to Israel in critical condition. The note detailed, in Arabic, previous surgical procedures and medical care the man had received days before in Syria. It asked Israel to save his life, because the Syrian doctors could not provide the necessary medical treatment.

This was the first case of a cross-border “transfer” from a Syrian medical facility. Israel has so far treated more than 20 Syrians who have been injured as a result of the civil war, and the IDF has set up a field hospital along the Israeli-Syrian border to help care for the injured.

Earlier this month, doctors received an unpleasant surprise when they found a live hand grenade in the pocket of another Syrian patient. The discovery led to the temporary evacuation of the hospital’s trauma unit, until police sappers could remove the explosive device.

“Our policy is to help in humanitarian cases, and to that end we are operating a field hospital along the Syrian border,” Ya’alon told the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee this month. “In cases where there are badly wounded, we transfer them to Israeli hospitals. We have no intention of opening refugee camps.”

Last week, the first Syrian heart patient left Israel after her successful surgery at the Wolfson Medical Center in Holon. The 4-year-old patient and her mother spent a month living in Jerusalem while she recovered. After seeing that she returned safely, last Thursday the family of a second Syrian child heart patient submitted a visa request to the Israeli government, which had previously extended an invitation for the patient to receive treatment at the Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer.

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