Israel issues warning over fire from Gaza, Golan

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Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon warned on Wednesday that Israel would respond to any attacks on its territory and not allow its people to come under fire “in any form.”

His warning was issued after militants in Gaza fired a rocket at southern Israel, and as a Syrian mortar shell and small arms fire hit the Israeli-occupied sector of the Golan Heights.

The Israeli military was quick to respond in both cases, with a tank firing back across the Syrian armistice line towards the source of fire and the air force mounting three air strikes on Gaza, in the first such raids in more than four months.

“We shall not allow in any form the establishment of a routine of sporadic firing at our civilians or our forces,” Yaalon said in remarks communicated from his office.

Yaalon said Gaza’s Hamas rulers were responsible for any fire directed at Israel from the coastal enclave, and in the same way, President Bashar al-Assad’s regime was to blame for whatever fire emanated from Syria.

“In the Golan Heights, our policy is that we have no intention of allowing a daily routine of firing from Syria towards Israeli territory, whether it is stray fire or not, and we will respond to that with a firm hand,” he warned.

“The moment we identify the source of the fire, we will destroy it without any hesitation, as we did last night,” he said.

“The Syrian regime is responsible for whatever happens on its territory, and we will not allow a situation in which fire leaks into Israeli territory without a response.”

After the overnight Israeli strikes which struck open fields near Gaza City and in the north, causing no damage or injuries, militants fired two more rockets at Israel, police said.

Both landed in an open area near the border town of Sderot, causing no damage or injuries.

Late on Tuesday, an Israeli tank on the Golan Heights fired across the armistice line after a mortar shell and small-arms fire hit the Israeli-occupied sector, the military said.