Israel says it is striking targets in Syrian territory in response to rocket fire
Israel launched strikes against Syrian military targets after several rockets were fired from Syria, the Israeli military said.
A total of six rockets were launched from Syria towards Israel, and three crossed into Israeli territory, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said. One of the rockets landed in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.
So far the IDF has not reported any damage in Israeli territory.
It is the latest flare-up after Israel struck Palestinian militant targets in southern Lebanon and Gaza early Friday in response to dozens of rockets fired from Lebanon into Israeli territory.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said that it had begun striking targets in Syrian territory after the rockets were launched.
“A short while ago, IDF fighter jets struck additional targets in Syrian territory, including a military compound of the Fourth Division of the Syrian Armed Forces, military radars systems and artillery posts used by the Syrian Armed Forces,” the IDF said in a statement early on Sunday local time.
The strikes by the fighter jets followed earlier IDF strikes on Syrian territory using a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle or drone), which targeted the launchers thought to have fired the rockets.
The IDF said it “sees the state of Syria responsible for all activities occurring within its territory and will not allow any attempts to violate Israeli sovereignty.”
Syria said it had responded to “Israeli air attacks in the southern part of the country,” and claimed to have intercepted “some Israeli missiles.”
“Around 5 a.m. today, the Israeli enemy carried out an air attack with a number of missiles from the direction of the occupied Syrian Golan Heights, targeting some points in the southern region,” Syrian state media agency SANA quoted a Syrian military source as saying.
According to SANA, the military source added that Syrian air defenses had “intercepted the aggressors’ missiles and shot down some of them.”
Israel seized the Golan Heights from Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War and annexed the narrow strip of land in 1981. The Golan Heights are considered occupied territory under international law and UN Security Council resolutions.
The rocket launches come amid heightened tensions in the region following Israeli police raids on the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.
Israeli police raids of the mosque are considered by Muslims as a major provocation.
Israeli police raided the mosque twice on Wednesday last week, claiming that “hundreds of rioters and mosque desecrators (had) barricaded themselves” inside.
On Saturday night, the Israeli police again alleged that, “many youngsters [had] entered the mosque and closed the doors, for no reason.”
Israel’s neighbor Jordan warned of “catastrophic consequences” if Israeli forces were to storm the mosque again.
Should the Israeli police, “assault worshipers again, in an attempt to empty [the mosque] of worshipers, in preparation for major incursions into the mosque,” it would, “push the situation towards more tension and violence, for which everyone will pay the price,” the Jordanian Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Ambassador Sinan al-Majali, said in a statement late on Saturday local time.
“The Israeli government bears responsibility for the escalation in Jerusalem and in all the occupied Palestinian territories and for the deterioration that will worsen if it does not stop its incursions into the holy al-Aqsa mosque… and its terrorization of worshipers in these blessed days,” al-Majali said.
The warning from Jordan was followed by a statement from the Israeli Foreign Ministry early on Sunday, saying that people who “barricade themselves inside [the al-Aqsa mosque] are a dangerous mob, radicalized and incited by Hamas and other terror organizations.”
The Israeli Foreign Ministry called on Jordan’s Waqf guards, “to immediately remove from the al-Aqsa Mosque these extremists who are planning to riot (on Sunday) during Muslim prayers on the Temple Mount and the Priestly Blessing at the Western Wall.”
The Waqf is the Jordan-appointed body that manages the al-Aqsa mosque compound, known as the Temple Mount by Jews.
In a separate development on Saturday night, the IDF killed a 20-year-old Palestinian man in the occupied West Bank town of Azzoun, according to the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Health.
The man, Ayed Azam Salim, was shot and killed by live Israeli bullets in the abdomen and chest in the Qalqilya district, according to the ministry.
“Following routine activity, multiple suspects hurled an explosive device towards IDF soldiers at town of Azzun,” the IDF said in a statement. Soldiers responded “with live ammunition towards them” and a person was hit, the statement added. No IDF soldiers were injured, according to the statement.
Salim was taken to a hospital in Qalqilya where he died, according to Palestinian News Agency WAFA.
On Friday, one person was killed and seven others injured in a car-ramming attack in Tel Aviv. Police said that the car was driven by a 45-year-old resident of Kfar Kasem, a predominantly Arab city east of Tel Aviv.
The victim, an Italian tourist, was named by Israeli and Italian authorities as Alessandro Parini. Italian media said he was a 35-year-old lawyer. Israeli authorities described the incident as a “terror attack.”