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      Yaalon: Israel Closely Monitoring Syrian Battlefronts

      Deputy PM Yaalon says Israel closely monitoring Syrian battlefronts after reports that rebels seized Scud missiles from regime forces.
      By Arutz Sheva staff
      First Publish: 3/3/2013, 5:41 PM

      Netanyahu visits Golan Heights
      Netanyahu visits Golan Heights
      Flash 90

      Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon said on Sunday that Israel is closely monitoring the battlefronts in Syria after press reports that rebels had seized Scud missiles from regime forces.

      However, Yaalon downplayed any threat to Israel from the Scuds -- long-range surface-to-surface missiles which Iraq's executed dictator Saddam Hussein used against the Jewish state in the 1991 Gulf War.

      "I don't think that they have the capacity to fire missiles at our territory," Yaalon told military radio, in reaction to reports Syrian rebels had seized Scuds in northeast Syria.

      Rebels have made significant advances in northern Syria where they control large swathes of territory, having captured army bases and airports.

      Speaking a day after Syrian shells hit the Golan Heights, Yaalon reiterated that Israel does not wish to be involved in Syria's civil war.

      "We are monitoring the situation closely. As long as it does not threaten us, we will not intervene. At this stage we don't see any threat," he said.

      On Saturday, three mortar shells exploded in an open area in the southern part of the Golan, near Ramot Magshimim. No one was hurt and no damage was caused.

      The deputy prime minister affirmed that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would be "held responsible for everything that happens along the border."

      The defense establishment believes that the shells were stray ones, which were fired in the course of the civil war in Syria, on the other side of the border.

      Israel filed a complaint to the UN force that is stationed on the border with Syria.

      Last week a mortar shell fell near Alonei Habashan, only 700 meters away from the border, without exploding. In early November, a mortar shell struck inside Alonei Habashan, and caused no casualties or damage.

      Three Iron Dome batteries were stationed in northern Israel in the course of the last month, to defend against a possible enemy attack.