Near the Syria border
Near the Syria borderIsrael news photo: Flash 90

The civil war in Syria spilled over into the Golan Heights in two separate incidents on Sunday.

Residents of the religious Zionist town of Alonei Habashan, which is less than a kilometer from the border, reported on Sunday evening that they heard explosions near the town, perhaps a result of a mortar shell that had been fired from Syria.

The IDF said that no explosion of a mortar had been identified, but said the residents may have heard machine-gun fire coming from the Syrian side of the border. It is believed the shooting was part of the fighting between the Syrian army and the rebels.

Earlier this month three mortar shells were fired into Israel, with one of them hitting a neighborhood in Alonei Habashan. None of the shells exploded.

In a second incident on Sunday night, an IDF vehicle was hit by bullets fired from Syrian territory into Israel during the fighting between the sides. There were no injuries or damage.

Last week, as IDF troops were patrolling along the border fence with Syria, their jeep was hit with some bullets that were fired from the Syrian side of the border. No one was hurt, but the IDF acted in accordance with the new rules of engagement and responded shortly thereafter with artillery fire at a building on the other side of the border.

The IDF changed the rules of engagement along the Syrian border after the fighting in Syria spilled over into Israel more than once.

The new orders instruct soldiers to respond if fire from Syria is dangerous and persistent.

Israel has several times fired across the ceasefire line, established in 1974, in response to stray fire from Syrian troops fighting rebels inside the zone.

Reports several weeks ago indicated that the Syrian army has pledged to Israel that its soldiers will avoid firing at the Israeli side of the border.

Syrian rebels are reportedly bringing the fight near Israel’s border in an attempt to take advantage of ceasefire rules barring the Syrian army from the area.