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Three shells explode on Israeli Golan, none hurt

Mortar fire from battles between Syrian army and rebels strays into Israel for the second time this week as fighting intensifies along border

Israelis and tourists look at a fire, caused by fighting in Syria, from an observation point on Mt. Bental in the Golan Heights, near the border between the Golan Heights and Syria, Friday, June 7, 2013. (photo credit: AP/Sebastian Scheiner)
Israelis and tourists look at a fire, caused by fighting in Syria, from an observation point on Mt. Bental in the Golan Heights, near the border between the Golan Heights and Syria, Friday, June 7, 2013. (photo credit: AP/Sebastian Scheiner)

Three mortar shells exploded on the Israeli side of the border fence with Syria on the Golan Heights Tuesday morning. No casualties or damage were reported from the incident, and there are currently no special security instructions for residents of the area.

The shells fell at 6 a.m. local time, and the IDF was combing the area to collect any residual material from the exploded ordinance, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said.

According to the IDF, the fire was not directed at Israel, but was fired as part of the battle currently raging in the nearby Syrian village of Al-Madriya, where rebels are clashing with regime forces.

The fighting along the Israeli border has increased in recent days, especially in the villages across the border from the northern Golan area.

The incident marks the second time this week that mortar shells fired in the context of battles in Syria landed on the Israeli side of the border. The previous incident, on Sunday night, also caused no damage or casualties.

The IDF has been expanding its forces on the Golan Heights in recent years, an effort that has included the construction of a more advanced border fence and the deployment of additional intelligence-gathering capabilities and ground forces.

The army also recently announced it would station a new unit to guard the border with Syria.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon has promised in the past to respond to fire with fire, and Israel has shot missiles at Syrian army positions in response to other incidents of mortar fire.

The two-year Syrian civil war has cost as many as 100,000 lives, according to human rights groups and diplomats following the conflict.

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