Israel complains to UN after mortar shells hit Golan; IDF spokesman says incident “part of internal Syrian conflict.”
Several mortar shells fired from Syrian territory fell inside the Golan Heights on Tuesday, marking the first time the ongoing violence in Syria has spilled inside Israel’s borders.
There were no reports of injuries or damage as a result of the incident.
Israel has filed a complaint with the United Nations forces operating in the area, the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF.)
The mortar shells were “aimed at villages inside Syria and are part of the internal, ongoing conflict in Syria,” said the IDF Spokesman’s Office following the incident.
The IDF also warned that “fire from Syria leaking into Israel will not be accepted.”
Israel has prepared contingency plans over the possibility that violence in Syria, where rebels are fighting to overthrow President Bashar Assad, could reach Israeli territory. Last Wednesday, the IDF held a surprise large-scale drill in the Golan, the scope of which had not been held in the region for several years.
The drill saw Artillery Corps conscripts and officers who were performing ordinary patrol activity in the West Bank airlifted in helicopters without prior warning to their artillery pieces’ firing positions in the Golan. Hours later they took part in live artillery-fire exercises.
The drill came on the heels of a major Golani Brigade infantry and Armored Corps exercise, held in the Golan in recent weeks, that simulated combat with Hezbollah.
The IDF said Wednesday’s drill had been planned well in advance and should not be linked with any current developments.
It did, however coincide with ongoing concerns over instability in Syria and the fate of chemical weapons there.
Yaakov Lappin contributed to this article
View original Jerusalem Post publication at: http://www.jpost.com/Defense/Article.aspx?id=286203