Fierce Clashes Along Syrian Border; Mortar Shell Strikes Israel
A mortar shell fired from Syria struck an open area on the Israeli side of the Golan Heights Monday morning, as fighting across the border continued to rage between pro-regime forces and Syrian rebels.
No damage or injuries were reported.
The incident follows the shooting down of a Syrian drone yesterday by IDF forces, after it strayed into Israeli airspace.
The Israeli military fired a Patriot surface-to-air missile at the drone, which IDF sources said belonged to regime forces and had most likely entered Israeli airspace by accident.
Several mortar shells have fallen inside Israeli territory since the launch of a rebel offensive centered around the Syria border city of Quneitra. An alliance of rebel forces, including both the western-backed Harakat Hazm faction and Al Qaeda's Syrian branch, the Nusra Front, drove out Assad regime forces last week, but have been facing a concerted counterattack by Syrian army ground and air forces since.
Last Wednesday morning, 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.
Later in the day, one Israeli was lightly wounded by tank fire in the area, after a possibly errant shell struck an Israeli community in the region.
Meanwhile, some 45 UN peacekeepers of Fijian nationality are still being held captive by the Nusra Front, after 40 Filipino soldiers made a dramatic escape into Israel.
Efforts are still being made to secure the remaining soldiers' release.
The soldiers were part of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), which has been in place along the Israel-Syria border since the end of the 1973 Yom Kippur War.