Syrian gunfire hits military vehicles in Israeli Golan: army

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Gunfire from Syria hit Israeli army vehicles travelling in the southern Israeli-occupied Golan Heights on Saturday, causing some damage but no casualties, the army said.

“A short while ago, military vehicles travelling in the Golan Heights were lightly damaged by bullets fired from Syria,” a spokeswoman told AFP. “No one was injured, and the incident is currently being reviewed.”

She could not say whether the shots were aimed at the Israeli army or stray bullets from fighting in Syria between rebels and army troops.

Three weeks ago a mortar shell from Syria hit the Golan Height after nearly three months of no spillover from the fighting in Syria. In November, Israeli troops responded with artillery in the first such instance of Israeli fire at the Syrian military since the 1973 war.

Israel is closely monitoring its border with Syria and fears that jihadist elements from among the rebels fighting the regime of President Bashar al-Assad might attempt to attack the Jewish state.

Earlier this month, Israel expressed concern that the UN peacekeeping force in the Golan Heights could pull out altogether after Syrian rebels snatched 21 of their troops in the ceasefire zone bordering Israel.

Since 1974, the UN's Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) has been monitoring the Syrian side of the armistice line with a force of 1,200 troops, although its number has recently dropped to 1,000.

Israel seized the Golan from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War and annexed it in 1981, in a move never recognized by the international community.

It is currently upgrading its security fence along its armistice line with the work expected to be finished by the end of the year.

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