A mortar bomb fired from Syria hit the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights on Thursday, Reuters reported the Israeli military saying, with spill-over from the conflict in the Arab country on the rise.
An Israeli military source said the mortar bomb landed in an Israeli village and had not gone off. No casualties or damage were reported. A military spokesman added that a few mortars had been fired, all of them errant and not aimed at Israeli targets.
The incident follows several similar events in the past week, as fighting has flared in close-by Syrian villages between Syrian rebels and forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.
“Israel now needs nerves of steel,” Israeli Homefront Minister Avi Dichter said on his Facebook page, pointing to the difficulty of pinpointing those responsible for firing the mortar bombs for possible military action against them.
With “no return address,” he wrote, Israeli defence officials have to adopt “a very careful response policy.”
On Saturday three Syrian tanks entered the demilitarized zone in the Golan Heights between Israel and Syria and Israel has asked the U.N. Security Council to act on what it said was “a dangerous escalation.”
Since then an Israeli military vehicle was hit by a stray Syrian bullet, a round of mortar bombs landed in the demilitarized zone and a landmine was set off by more stray firing, sparking a small fire.
The military spokesman said that all these incidents were not aimed at Israel. Israel’s army chief, Benny Gantz, on Sunday warned troops on the Golan Heights: “This is a Syrian issue that could become our issue.”
Israel captured the Golan Heights, a strategic plateau, from Syria during the 1967 Middle East war. The two countries signed a ceasefire agreement in 1974 after the so-called Yom Kippur War, but are still technically in conflict.
Israel annexed the territory in 1981 in a move not recognized internationally.
Death toll mounts near Turkey
Meanwhile, at least 16 Syrian soldiers and 10 rebels were killed on Thursday in heavy clashes in the northwestern town of Ras al-Ain near the Turkish border, AFP reported the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights saying.
“Ten rebels and 16 soldiers have been killed so far in fighting for the majority Kurdish border town of Ras al-Ain,” its head Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP, after Turkish media said two Turks were wounded by bullets from the Syrian side.
The Free Syrian Army (FSA) announced early Thursday that fighters from the armed opposition had gained control of the Ras al-Ain, as hundreds of Syrians continue to stream into makeshift refugee camps on the border every day.
Official’s son captured: FSA
FSA claimed that it has captured son of the country’s intelligence military chief on Thursday. The rebel army posted on its Facebook page that Abu Ghazali was kidnapped while he was returning home in the southern province of Deraa.