Israel fires warning shots into Syria as violence escalates in Gaza

Four Palestinian civilians are reported killed in Gaza as fears grow that Syrian civil war could spill across border

The Guardian, By Harriet Sherwood, November 11

Jerusalem – Israeli troops are engaged on two of the country’s borders, firing warning shots into Syria after a mortar shell hit an Israeli army post on the Golan Heights and targeting militants in Gaza in an escalating round of violence over the weekend. Four Palestinian civilians were reported killed in air strikes on Gaza.

In the north, the Israeli Defence Forces’ (IDF) response came amid concerns that the civil war in Syria could spill across the boundary into the Golan Heights, which Israel has occupied since 1967. In the past week, four shells fired from within Syria have landed in the Golan, although none have caused damage or injuries. Eight days ago, three Syrian tanks briefly entered the buffer zone between Syria and the Golan Heights.

Sunday’s warning shots were the first time the IDF has fired into Syrian territory since the 1973 Yom Kippur war. “A mortar shell targeted an IDF post in the Golan Heights,” said the army spokeswoman, Avital Leibovich. “We answered with a warning shot towards Syrian areas. We understand this was a mistake and was not meant to target Israel and then that is why we fired a warning shot in retaliation.”

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Netanyahu warned that the military was ready to intensify its response to rocket fire from Gaza following the escalation of attacks and counter-attacks.

The round of violence followed a similar spike almost three weeks ago, which subsided after intervention by Egyptian mediators. But some observers believe Netanyahu may be more inclined to order a robust approach in the runup to Israel’s general election on 22 January.

2 comments to Israel fires warning shots into Syria as violence escalates in Gaza

  • Raja

    For second time in 24 hours, fire from Syria hits Israel

    CNN, By Ashley Fantz, November 12

    A mortar shell fired from Syria landed Monday in the Golan Heights occupied by Israel, the second time in 24 hours fire originating from the war-torn country has shaken the area. Israel said it returned fire in the direction the shell came from.

    The Israeli Defense Forces and Syrian forces hadn’t fired at each other in more than 40 years, so while the Israelis reported that there was no damage and no injuries, the latest fire portends how what’s happening in Syria could seriously rattle the entire region.

    The last time Israel fired on its neighbor across the Golan Heights was during the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

  • Raja

    Israel hit by fresh volley of rockets from Gaza

    BBC, November 12

    A fresh volley of rockets from Gaza have hit Israel amid some of the most intense cross-border fighting in weeks.

    Israel says 11 rockets landed, one of which fell next to a house in Netivot. Several people were treated for shock.

    Earlier, six Palestinians, including two militants, were killed in Israeli air strikes on Gaza, following an attack by militants on an army jeep.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to “take action to put a stop” to the rocket-fire.

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