IDF scales down drill in north, as top general dispels ‘winds of war’

Airspace around Syrian and Lebanese borders reopened to civilian flights; Lebanon places soldiers on alert

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Yair Golan as IDF Northern Commander (photo credit: IDF/FLASH90)
Yair Golan as IDF Northern Commander (photo credit: IDF/FLASH90)

The Israel Defense Forces scaled back a drill in the north and the Northern Command head calmed fears Monday that the weekend airstrikes against Syria have brought the country to the brink of war.

“There are no winds of war,” Major-General Yair Golan said on Monday as he took part in an annual fun run for the Golani Brigade, one of Israel’s four main infantry brigades.

“There is no need to get into hysterics, everything is calm, the residents of the north can sleep in peace,” he said. “Do I look tense?”

The IDF reopened Israel’s northern airspace for civilian flights after air traffic was brought to a standstill for a half a day following Sunday’s airstrikes on Syria. It was originally announced that Haifa’s airport was to be closed until Thursday.

In a further effort to avoid exacerbating tensions, the IDF scaled back a long-planned drill in northern Israel.

Yair Golan at the Golani Brigade Fun Run on May 6. 'Do I look tense?' (photo credit: Channel 10 screenshot)
Yair Golan at the Golani Brigade Fun Run on May 6. ‘Do I look tense?’ (photo credit: Channel 10 screenshot)

Syria issued harsh warnings that Israel should not dare to launch any further attacks after two airstrikes over the weekend apparently targeted Iranian-made missiles at facilities near Damascus. The Fateh-110 missiles were reportedly being transported to Hezbollah in Lebanon. The weapons storage facilities were said to be hit by missiles fired by Israeli aircraft flying over Lebanon.

Iran warned Monday that Israel’s “terror” would return to hurt it “like a boomerang.”

Israel Radio reported Monday that Lebanon put soldiers stationed along the border with Israel on alert, and local media said that Israeli Air Force planes were again spotted over the country. On Sunday, Lebanon called on the United Nations and the international community to pressure Israel over continued violations of its airspace.

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