Israel strikes Syrian tanks in retaliation over stray mortar strikes

Israel strikes Syrian tanks in retaliation over stray mortar strikes
Security was amped up in the border region between Syria and Israel on Saturday, after a number of "errant" mortars landed in an open area without causing injury.
2 min read
24 June, 2017
There are a large number of Israeli troops on the border with Syria [AFP]
Israel ordered its citizens to stay clear of its disputed border zone with Syria on Saturday, after a number of Syrian mortars landed in the region.

Israeli armed forces issued a warning against visiting the Golan Heights, an area both Syria and Israel lay claim over, adding that the explosions were due to "errant fire".

"Several projectiles fired from Syria hit an open area in the northern Golan Heights. No injuries reported," the Israeli armed forces tweeted.

Israel retaliated within an hour with drone strikes on a group of Syrian tanks in the area surrounding Madinat al-Baath, near Quneitra.

The Syrian regime reacted to a surprise attack by rebel fighters in this region on Saturday, leading to heavy fighting.

Israel has responded to these incidents in the past with retaliatory drone strikes against Syrian regime positions in Damascus.

The Israeli air force carried out airstrikes on a Syrian military base in April in retaliation against a similar incident involving mortar fire going astray.

The Syrian regime is engaged in fighting against various disparate rebel groups in the region, including Islamic State and other Islamist fighters.

Israel carries out occasional airstrikes in Syria against what it says are deliveries of advanced weapons to Hizballah.

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman threatened to destroy Syrian air defense systems in March, after Damascus fired ground-to-air missiles at Israeli warplanes carrying out strikes.

Hizballah affiliated fighters are known to also patrol the border region and are occasionally assassinated by Israeli drones.

The armed Shia militia is fighting alongside the Syrian regime in the country's six-year civil war.