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Assad threatens to retaliate against Israel as shells land on Golan

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Syrian President Bashar Assad said his country would retaliate against Israel for a January airstrike on a weapons facility near Damascus.

Assad made the remarks on Sunday, a day after mortar shells fired from Syria landed on the Golan Heights. The shells reportedly were fired into Israeli territory by accident during a firefight between Syrian rebels and government military forces.

It was the second time in recent days that mortar fire from Syria landed in Israeli territory. United Nations peacekeeping troops were told about the strike.

Assad said in an interview published in London’s Sunday Times that his country would retaliate for what is believed to be an Israeli strike on a research facility near Damascus used for developing chemical weapons.

"We retaliated in our own way, and only the Israelis know what we mean," Assad told the Sunday Times. "Retaliation does not mean missile for missile or bullet for bullet. Our own way does not have to be announced."

Meanwhile, Syrian opposition forces accused the Syrian government of firing mortars at a 2,000-year-old synagogue located near Damascus. A video of the historic Jobar Synagogue showing damage to parts of the building, including a blown-off roof, was posted on YouTube over the weekend by the Syrian opposition’s military council.

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