Israel launches air raid on Syria in return for Golan fire


Israel posts video showing what it says was machine-gun position and two tanks being targeted from above and blown up

Smoke billows from Syrian side of border after projectiles hit occupied Golan Heights on Saturday and Israel retaliates (AFP)
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Last update: 
Monday 26 June 2017 7:25 UTC

An Israeli aircraft carried out a strike on Syria after 10 projectiles fired from the war-torn country hit the occupied Golan Heights on Saturday, an army spokesman said.

The Israeli air force also targeted two Syrian government tanks in the northern part of the Golan, the spokesman said, adding that the projectiles did not cause any casualties.

"Because of the unacceptable violation of Israeli sovereignty," Israel has protested to the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), which monitors a 1974 ceasefire between the two countries, he added.

The Israeli military posted a video on Twitter showing what it said was a machine-gun position and two tanks being targeted from above and blown up.

Syria's official news agency SANA confirmed the strike, saying it had killed an unspecified number of people and caused material damage.

SANA said "the Israeli enemy" fired several projectiles that hit the southern province of Quneitra on the Golan plateau, and accused Israel of backing the rebels battling government forces.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor that has been reporting on Syria's six-year-war, said two Syrian soldiers were killed in the Israeli strike.

It also reported fierce fighting between forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and rebels in Quneitra.

Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Israel believes the Assad government is "accountable for what is happening on the ground and will continue to suffer the consequences".

"We are acting strongly, with determination," the minister in a statement.

Israel has conducted multiple air strikes in Syria since that country's civil war erupted in 2011, most of which it has said targeted arms convoys or warehouses of its Lebanese arch-foe Hezbollah, which is a key supporter of the Syrian government.

In April, Israel shot down what it identified only as "a target" over the Golan, hours after Syria accused it of hitting a military position near Damascus airport.

Israel did not confirm or deny the reported Damascus attack.

Israel seized much of the Golan Heights from Syria in the Six-Day War of 1967 and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the international community.

About 510 square kilometres of the Golan remain under Syrian control.

The Israeli side of the Golan has been hit sporadically by what is thought to be stray fire from fighting between forces loyal to Syria's government and rebels.

Syria and Israel are still technically at war.