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Tank Shell From Syria Wounds One in Golan

Fighting from Syria continues to spill over into Israel, as Al Qaeda-linked rebels capture Syrian side of border crossing to Israel.
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 8/27/2014, 6:58 PM / Last Update: 8/27/2014, 8:44 PM

Syrian mortar victim on Golan (file)
Syrian mortar victim on Golan (file)
Flash 90

An Israeli was lightly wounded by tank fire in the Golan Heights late in the afternoon on Wednesday, after a possibly errant shell struck an Israeli community in the region. 

The shell was fired from the Quneitra region of Syria, where intense fighting between the Syrian army and rebel forces has been raging all day.

The wounded man, aged 52, was able to go seek medical treatment, and is currently being looked after. Magen David Adom forces evacuated him to the Ziv Hospital in Tzefat (Safed).

Aside from the wounded, the tank shell also inflicted damage on a local wine vineyard, as well as a gas pipe in the area.

"From what we know, opposition forces overran the Syrian regime forces on the Syrian side of the Quneitra crossing, some of those including the Al-Nusra Front, which ultimately leave the crossing in the opposition forces' hands," Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner told AFP.

It is worth noting that Al-Nusra Front is an Al Qaeda-linked extremist group.

Lerner said the IDF has "substantial forces" on the ground and is prepared for any eventuality, with troops sealing off the area as a defensive measure.

"We have declared a closed military zone in the immediate area of the crossing and the roads leading to it. We are prepared for any potential spillover effect into Israel," Lerner said.

The IDF spokesperson added "these (rebel) forces have said multiple times that when they are done with Syria, they will head to Israel. Their hands are tied up in Syria at the moment, so we have to be prepared for that development."

According to Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, at least 20 Syrian soldiers and four rebels were killed in the fighting Wednesday.

Earlier on Wednesday morning reportedly six mortar shells careened into Israeli territory from the Quneitra area, lightly-to-moderately wounding an IDF officer and causing damage to several vehicles.

In response to the mortar shells, IDF artillery fired at a Syrian military position.

The fighting in Quneitra seemed to be favoring the opposition forces, who early in the afternoon captured Al Rawadi, a village close to the Quneitra Crossing to Israel. Shortly afterwards a firefighting crew was dispatched to the Quneitra area to deal with a fire that broke out due to the mortar shells.

Syrian President Bashar Assad appears to be on the brink of losing control of Quneitra; this is the rebel's second offensive in Quneitra, and they have already seized most of the rest of the area bordering on Israel.

The Syrian border of the Golan was the site of rocket attacks on Israel on Sunday night, with rocket sirens sounded in Golan communities.

The remains of five rockets were found scattered in the area the next morning. The rockets caused no casualties and lightly damaged an electric cable.