Residents of mortar-hit town slam military for leaving them unprotected

Three Syrian mortars land around moshav, local council chief urges IDF to hit back

A cutout of a soldier on an army outpost at Mount Bental in the Golan Heights. (photo credit: Tsafrir Abayov/Flash90)
A cutout of a soldier on an army outpost at Mount Bental in the Golan Heights. (photo credit: Tsafrir Abayov/Flash90)

Residents of the Golan Heights town hit by three errant Syrian mortar shells Thursday lashed out at the Israel Defense Forces, saying the military was not doing enough to protect them from their warring neighbor.

Two of the shells fell in open areas near moshav Alonei Habashan, located a few hundred meters from the border with Syria, causing no injuries or damage. A third landed inside the moshav itself, but failed to explode and no damage was reported.

Residents of the area say they fear fighting between Syrian rebels and regime forces is increasingly encroaching into the border area, but the army is doing little to protect residents.

On Friday, heavy fighting between Syrian Army forces and rebels was reported at Quneitra, also just across the Golan Heights border in Syria.

Former security professional Amir Duvdevani said that although everyone knew that there is real concern that a Syrian shell or bomb could hit Golan towns, the military did not warn the residents about the danger or give them instructions on how to protect themselves.

Another resident told Channel 2 News she credits the fact the bomb that landed inside the community didn’t go off to divine intervention, but said those on earth must do more to protect people, as blasts from across the border were increasingly audible during the last week.

Syrian violence has spilled over into Jordan and Turkey, with several deaths, and leaders have warned Syrian violence could spill over into a regional conflict.

Golan Regional Council head Eli Malka urged the government and the army to bring a complete halt to the fire on the north by sending a message to Syria or, if necessary, by targeting the sources of fire.

“We will not accept the escalation in our region,” said Malka.

Israel has long feared Syrian conflict spillover into the Golan. On Monday, an army jeep was hit by a stray bullet from Syrian territory, just days after top IDF brass toured the region.

The IDF has been kept on high alert since November 3, when three Syrian tanks strayed into the demilitarized zone separating the two borders, leading Israel to lodge an official complaint with UN peacekeepers stationed in the DMZ.

In September a number of mortars fired by regime forces landed in the north of the Golan Heights, and in another incident Syrian soldiers entered the demilitarized zone.

Fighting in Syria started in March 2011 as a revolt against President Bashar Assad, and the ongoing civil war has claimed the lives of more than 36,000 people, according to opposition sources.

Gabe Fisher contributed to this report. 

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