Israel strikes rocket launchers in Syria in response to rocket fire


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel struck three rocket launchers in Syria in response to five rockets fired into its territory from the neighboring country.

The Israeli military initially identified the rockets that landed in the Golan Heights early Saturday as spillover from Syria’s long-running civil war. But unnamed military officials later told Hebrew press that the missiles may have been launched purposely at Israel.

The rockets, which began landing at 5 a.m. on Saturday, fell in open areas and did not cause any injury or damage. At least one landed near a residential area of Israel. Code Red alarms were sounded in several Golan communities.

There reportedly was no fighting going on in the area in Syria at the time.

“Whether errant fire or not, this is an exceptional incident and any future occurrences will force the IDF to intensify its response,” the IDF said in a statement.

“The IDF will not tolerate any attempt to harm the sovereignty of the State of Israel and the security of its residents, and holds the Syrian regime responsible for what is happening in its territory.”

Syria’s army, in a statement issued after Israel’s attack, accused Israel of arranging for the rebels to fire across the border in order to give it an excuse to fire on Syrian positions.

Syria’s Foreign Ministry in two letters sent Saturday to United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also accused Israel of “support of terror” and warned of “grave repercussions.”

“Israel asked terrorists to launch projectiles at its own territory, so it could justify its own attack,” the letters charged. “This new Israeli aggression against the outskirts of Quneitra is a new chapter in the connection between the Israeli occupation and the armed terrorist organizations, and a desperate attempt to support those organizations.”

On Thursday, an Israeli airstrike hit a Syrian army post near the border in retaliation for a rocket that struck Israeli territory in the Golan Heights earlier in the day. On Oct. 15, Syria targeted Israeli fighter jets on routine patrol over Lebanon, and Israel retaliated by striking and incapacitating the missile launcher, which was deep in Syria.

Syria’s military warned of “dangerous consequences” for Israel’s “repeated aggression” following that attack.

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