Army says rocket alert siren in Golan was false alarm
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Army says rocket alert siren in Golan was false alarm

Military says gunfire, not rockets, set off warning system on Monday morning, a day after apparent errant fire from fighting across the border

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

IDF vehicles driving along the road parallel to the border fence separating the Israeli and Syrian regions of the Golan Heights, July 19, 2017. (AFP/MENAHEM KAHANA)
IDF vehicles driving along the road parallel to the border fence separating the Israeli and Syrian regions of the Golan Heights, July 19, 2017. (AFP/MENAHEM KAHANA)

An incoming rocket alert siren that sounded in the northern Golan Heights on Monday morning was determined by the army to be a false alarm.

The army’s Home Front Command, which operates the system, said the sensitive alarm appeared to have been triggered by gunfire across the border.

“No rocket was fired toward Israel,” the unit said.

The sirens came a day after a mortar shell was fired from Syria toward the Israeli Golan Heights in what the army said appeared to be errant fire from fighting across the border.

The alarm could be heard in the communities of Ortal, Alonei Habashan, Merom Golan and Ein Zivan, the Home Front Command said.

In Sunday’s mortar shelling, the incoming rocket sirens in the area were not activated, as the shell was heading toward an open field.

The Israel Defense Forces said it sent soldiers to search the area to determine if the shell actually reached Israeli territory or if it fell short of the border.

As of Monday morning, the army had yet to find an impact site, an IDF spokesperson said.

On Saturday, Arabic media reported that 12 Iranian military personnel had been killed in an alleged Israeli airstrike on an Iranian base in Syria the night before.

There has been no official confirmation of fatalities by either Syrian or Iranian authorities. There was also no official comment from Israel, which does not, as a rule, comment on its reported strikes in Syria.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned, in a video clip published Saturday night, that Israel would not tolerate an Iranian military presence in Syria.

Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Six Day War and later extended sovereignty to the area in a move never recognized by the international community.

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