Israel, Syria tension increases

Eurasia News

Israeli troops opened “retaliating” fire at targets across the Syrian border with Syria later claiming it destroyed an Israeli military vehicle stationed in Golan Heights. This is a third consecutive cross-border shooting in a week, Israeli media say.

The Israeli military said their troops had “returned precise fire” after a Syrian soldier allegedly caused damage to a military vehicle stationed in Golan Heights, near the border.

This is the first time the Syrian government claimed responsibility for firing into the Israeli territory.

Tel-Aviv denied the claims. Israel’s Army Radio however said the Tuesday incident was the third consecutive cross-border shooting this week and the military considers the incident to be concerning.

Israel’s military chief Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz also warned Syrian President Bashar Assad that the Syrian leader would “bear the consequences” if there were any more attacks on Israeli forces.

Cross-border gunfire incidents have become a more frequent occurrence in recent months amid the on-going Syrian civil war.

Fire from the conflict within Syria has intermittently struck Golan Heights, with Israel generally accepting these incidents as accidental. However, Israel has occasionally retaliated for the bullets and infrequent mortar shells entering the border territory, which they captured from Syria in 1967.

Airstrikes – attributed to Israel, but not confirmed – struck military posts in Syria at the beginning of May, with the blasts reportedly killing scores of soldiers.

Israel has never made an official comment on the strikes, but only stated it would do everything against the prospect of its foes in Lebanon obtaining weapons smuggled through Syria.