Three projectiles from Syria hit Golan Heights

No injuries or damage reported in any of the incidents of apparent errant fire from neighboring country

Illustrative. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tours the Golan Heights near the Syrian border, April 11, 2016. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)
Illustrative. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tours the Golan Heights near the Syrian border, April 11, 2016. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)

Two more projectiles fired from Syria landed in the northern Golan Heights on Tuesday, shortly after a first launched from the neighboring country exploded in the same area. This came a day after two projectiles fired from Syria also hit the Golan.

There were no injuries or damage linked to any of the landings Tuesday, the Israeli military said, adding that the incidents were apparently errant fire from the ongoing civil war in Syria.

The IDF briefly closed off a road in the area where the shells landed.

There have been a number of such incidents over the past week and a half.

On Monday, a mortar shell hit Israel, prompting the Israeli Air Force to retaliate by targeting two Syrian regime artillery batteries near the border. Syrian state media claimed to have downed an Israeli plane and a drone in that reprisal raid — a claim firmly dismissed by Israel.

The civil war in Syria has generated a number of spillover incidents over the years. Israel has said it holds the Syrian regime responsible for all errant fire, regardless of the source. The IDF frequently retaliates against stray missile strikes inside Israeli territory.

The recent upsurge in incidents stems from the growing success of President Assad’s forces in recent days, which has forced rebel fighters into areas closer to the Israeli border, Israeli analysts said Tuesday.

Smoke rising from the Syrian village of Jubata al-Khashab, where Israeli aircraft struck Syrian army positions after fire from its war-torn neighbor hit the Golan, September 10, 2016. (AFP/Jalaa Marey)
Smoke rising from the Syrian village of Jubata al-Khashab, where Israeli aircraft struck Syrian army positions after fire from its war-torn neighbor hit the Golan, September 10, 2016. (AFP/Jalaa Marey)

Monday’s errant fire, at around 9 p.m. local time, came hours after a ceasefire brokered by Russia and the United States took effect in Syria at sundown.

The initial 48-hour truce came into force at 7 p.m. local time (1600 GMT) across Syria except in areas held by jihadists like the Islamic State group.

As the ceasefire went into effect, Syria’s armed forces immediately announced a seven-day “freeze” on military operations, lasting to midnight next Sunday. But opposition forces had yet to formally sign on and the deal’s fragility was underscored just hours before sundown when Assad vowed to retake the whole country from “terrorists.”

On Saturday, a mortar shell exploded on the Israeli Golan Heights, prompting an Israeli retaliation. A military spokeswoman said the projectile was most likely unintentional “spillover” from the internal fighting in Syria. A short time later, the Israeli Air Force struck artillery targets belonging to the Syrian army, the army said.

Druze watch the bombing between Syrian forces from the Israeli side of the border with Syria in the Golan Heights, on June 16, 2015. (Basel Awidat/Flash90)
Druze watch the bombing between Syrian forces from the Israeli side of the border with Syria in the Golan Heights, on June 16, 2015. (Basel Awidat/Flash90)

Hours later, a second mortar shell fired from Syria struck the Golan Heights. The shell exploded on the border, causing no casualties or damage.

Last Thursday, the Israeli Air Force hit a number of rocket launchers belonging to the Syrian army after an projectile struck an open area on the Israeli side of the Golan on Wednesday evening. The shell caused no injuries or damage, after reportedly landing in an open field in Kibbutz Merom Golan.

And on Sunday last week, a mortar round fired from Syria hit an open area on the Israeli side of the Golan demilitarized zone, causing no injuries or damage. In response, the IDF later on Sunday struck Syrian army artillery targets on the plateau.

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