Syria mortar shell hits Golan Heights, says Israeli army

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A mortar shell fired from Syria exploded in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights on Tuesday, hitting an open field without causing any casualties or damage, an army spokeswoman told AFP news agency.

It was the third incident of fire from the civil war in neighboring Syria straying across the ceasefire line in 24 hours and came as tensions soared after Israel carried out weekend air strikes near Damascus.

On Monday, two rockets fired from Syrian territory also exploded in open fields on the Israeli side.

The Golan has been tense since the beginning of the conflict in Syria more than two years ago.

However, there have been only minor flare-ups in the region to date, as Syrian shells have crashed in the occupied Golan and Israel has fired at the source in retaliation.

Israel, which is technically at war with Syria, seized 1,200 square kilometers (460 square miles) of the strategic plateau during the 1967 Six Day War, which it and later annexed in a move never recognized by the international community.

The United Nations Disengagement Observer Force has been stationed in the Golan since 1974 to oversee a ceasefire.

Over the weekend, Israeli warplanes targeted what Israel claimed were caches of Iranian missiles bound for Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based Shiite group.

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is making the case to Russian President Vladimir Putin that Russia should take a tougher stance on Syria at a time when Israeli air strikes against Syria have added an unpredictable factor to the talks.

Kerry arrived in Moscow Tuesday for talks with the most powerful ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime.

Officials said Kerry hopes to change Moscow's thinking on Syria with two new angles: American threats to arm the Syrian rebels and evidence of chemical weapon attacks by Assad forces.