Israel guns fire on Syrian fighters
Published 18/11/2012 | 20:04
Israel has shelled Syrian fighters after gunfire from their civil war spilled over to the Israel-controlled Golan Heights, the military said, as the conflict appeared to inch closer to the Jewish state.
The civil war in Syria has renewed tensions in the Golan Heights, a strategic plateau that Israel captured from Syria in the 1967 war. Despite constant hostility between the two countries, Syria has been careful to keep the border quiet since the 1973 Mideast war.
In recent days, Israeli troops have fired into Syria twice before, responding to what appeared to be stray mortar shells exploding in Israel-held territory.
An Israeli military spokesman said soldiers fired artillery toward the source of gunfire late on Saturday night.
He said the military identified a hit. He did not know if the targets were Syrian rebels fighting to topple President Bashar Assad or forces loyal to him.
Syrian shells have exploded inside the Israel-held Golan Heights several times in recent weeks, damaging apple orchards, sparking fires and spreading some panic but causing no injuries.
Though the two nations have been bitter enemies, Israel is concerned that if the Assad regime is toppled, Syria could fall into the hands of Islamic extremists.