TEL AVIV (Oct. 21)
Shooting incidents and the escalation of tension by Syria on the Golan Heights were attributed by Israeli circles today to the approaching deadline for renewal of the mandate of the United Nations Disengagement Observers Force (UNDOF) which expires Nov. 30. As in the past, when the date for renewal neared, the Syrians seek to reinforce their extremist rhetoric with actions on the border, the circles said.
Israel, nevertheless, is taking a serious view of the shots fired yesterday at an Israeli patrol on the Golan Heights by Syrian forces and has lodged a formal complaint with UN headquarters. Military circles noted that the Syrians maintain tight discipline on their troops along the disengagement line and the firing could not have been accidental. They denied Syrian claims that four Israeli soldiers were wounded.
In addition to the shooting. Israel has complained to the UN of two Syrian violations of Israeli airspace–one yesterday morning and another on Oct. 17. They conceded, however, that overflights could sometimes be the result of innocent errors in navigation. On the other hand, they noted repeated infiltration of Israeli territory by Syrian units, apparently on intelligence-gathering missions, which contribute to the tension on the Golan.