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Israel says it destroyed Syrian artillery unit

November 12, 2012|By Edmund Sanders
  • An Israeli tank in a firing position Monday in the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights overlooking the Syrian village of Bariqa. The Israeli military says Syrian mobile artillery was hit after Israel responded to apparently stray mortar fire from its neighbor.
An Israeli tank in a firing position Monday in the Israeli-controlled Golan… (Ariel Schalit / Associated…)

JERUSALEM -- For the second day in a row, a mortar shell fired from Syria landed in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights on Monday, prompting Israeli forces to fire back, officials said Monday.

Unlike Israel’s retaliatory fire on Sunday, which military officials described as a “warning shot,” the strike on Monday destroyed a mobile Syrian artillery unit, an Israeli military spokeswoman said.

Though the Syrian shell did not cause damage or injury, Israel has grown increasingly frustrated by apparently errant mortar rounds landing in the Golan Heights, which Israel seized from Syria during the 1967 war. Israel has warned Syria that it will begin to respond to each incident rather than ignore them as it has in the past.

Officials would not comment on whether the destroyed artillery was controlled by the Syrian army or rebel groups.

Israeli officials continue to believe that the mortar fire is not targeted at Israel and is a spillover from the Syrian violence. But one unidentified military official told Israeli media Monday that the frequency of incidents is causing Israel to reevaluate that conclusion.

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