Mount Hermon ski resort to reopen despite flareup on northern border
search

Mount Hermon ski resort to reopen despite flareup on northern border

Popular tourist site closed Monday following attempted missile strike from Syria, will resume operations on Tuesday

An Israeli soldier skis in the snow covered Mount Hermon in the Golan Heights, northern Israel, on January 21, 2019. The ski site was closed to visitors for the day, after a rocket fired from Syria headed to the area was intercepted on January 20 by Israel's Iron Dome defense system (Basel Awidat/Flash90)
An Israeli soldier skis in the snow covered Mount Hermon in the Golan Heights, northern Israel, on January 21, 2019. The ski site was closed to visitors for the day, after a rocket fired from Syria headed to the area was intercepted on January 20 by Israel's Iron Dome defense system (Basel Awidat/Flash90)

The Hermon ski resort will reopen on Tuesday, after closing to visitors Monday following clashes between Israel and Iranian forces in Syria on Sunday.

The popular tourist site made the announcement on its website, saying the decision was approved by the Israel Defense Forces.

The Israeli army on Monday did not allow visitors onto the ski resort in the northern Golan Heights, amid concerns a cross-border conflagration could intensify.

“Given the situation, it has been decided that the Hermon site will not open to visitors Monday,” the army said in a statement early Monday morning.

An Iron Dome anti-missile battery is deployed in the snow covered Mount Hermon in the Golan Heights, northern Israel, on January 21, 2019. (Basel Awidat/Flash90)

The move came after Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system intercepted an Iranian surface-to surface-missile shot at Israel from Syria. According to Intelligence Minister Israel Katz, the missile attack was aimed at the ski resort, which was full of visitors at the time. Military officials, however, were more circumspect about the target of the missile, saying it could have been either a civilian or a military site on the Golan Heights.

The Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper reported Monday that the missile carried a nearly half-ton warhead. Israel’s Hadashot TV news said late Monday that the missile carried a 200 kilo warhead, and had a range of 250 kilometers (155 miles). The missile was Iranian-made and fired by Iranians, the TV report said.

In light of the potent nature of the attack — there were thousands of Israelis in the Mount Hermon area at the time — Israel in response launched a massive wave of air strikes on Iranian targets in Syria early Monday, hitting 12 targets including Iranian arms caches, an Iranian intelligence site on the Syrian golan, and an Iranian training camp near Damascus. It also destroyed 12 Syrian anti-missile batteries. Eleven Syrian and pro-Syrian fighters were reported killed.

In line with a new open policy, Israel took responsibility for the raid.

The Iranian missile fire at the Golan marked a highly unusual retaliatory attack that followed an airstrike earlier Sunday against targets in the Damascus International Airport and in the town of al-Kiswah, south of the capital, allegedly by Israel.

An Israeli army vehicle drives in the snow-covered Mount Hermon in the Golan Heights, northern Israel, on January 21, 2019. (Basel Awidat/Flash90)

Mount Hermon straddles the borders of Israel, Syria and Lebanon, towering over the Golan Heights with a peak of 2,814 meters (9,232 feet). The Israeli side of the mountain tops out at 2,200 meters (6,500 feet), making it the largest in the country.

Visitors enjoy Mount Hermon’s season opening, January 28, 2018. (Basel Awidat/Flash90)

On Sunday, the site was packed with visitors following fresh snowfall in the area. Authorities opted not to close the site immediately following the missile launch, which was intercepted outside of Israeli territory and caused no casualties or damage.

read more:
less
comments
more