Syria, Israel exchange fire over border

Syria said Tuesday it destroyed an Israeli vehicle that crossed the ceasefire line in the Golan Heights overnight, while the Israeli military said gunfire from Syria had hit an Israeli patrol.

In this image taken from video obtained from the Ugarit News, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, a Israeli airstrikes hit Damascus, Syria, early Sunday, May 5, 2013. Israeli warplanes struck areas in and around the Syrian capital Sunday, setting off a series of explosions as they targeted a shipment of highly accurate, Iranian-made guided missiles believed to be on their way to Lebanon's Hezbollah militant group, officials and activists said. The attack, the second in three days, signaled a sharp escalation of Israel's involvement in Syria's bloody civil war. Syria's state media reported that Israeli missiles struck a military and scientific research center near the Syrian capital and caused casualties. (AP Photo/Ugarit News via AP video)

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Syria said Tuesday it destroyed an Israeli vehicle that crossed the ceasefire line in the Golan Heights overnight, while the Israeli military said gunfire from Syria had hit an Israeli patrol, damaging a vehicle and prompting its troops to fire back.

The two sides appeared to be referring to the same incident.

Sporadic fire from Syria's civil war has occasionally hit the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights, a strategic plateau Israel captured in the 1967 war. Israel assumes most of the incidents are accidental fire but its forces have responded on several occasions.

Tuesday's incident, however, marked the first time that the Syrian army has acknowledged firing at Israeli troops across the frontier, and appeared to be an attempt by President Bashar Assad's regime to project toughness following three Israeli airstrikes near Damascus this year.

The strikes, which targeted alleged Syrian arms shipments bound for the Lebanese Hezbollah militant group, marked a sharp escalation of Israel's involvement in the Syrian civil war. They also raised fears that a conflict that has repeatedly spilled over Syria's borders could turn into a full-fledged regional war.

Syria vowed to retaliate and Assad said Syria is "capable of facing Israel" and would not accept violations of its sovereignty. Firing at an Israeli target seems to be in line with the tougher rhetoric that followed the airstrikes.

A statement issued Tuesday by the Syrian Armed Forces said its troops destroyed the Israeli vehicle along "with those in it." It said Israel later fired two missiles towards one of the Syrian positions in the village of Zobaydiya village, causing no casualties.

The village is located inside the Syrian controlled Golan and the state-run SANA news agency said rebels were operating in the area. The border zone has seen repeated breaches during Syria's two-year civil war as rebels took control over some villages near the ceasefire line.

The army statement carried by SANA said any attempt to infiltrate Syria's sovereignty will face "immediate and firm retaliation. "

Earlier Tuesday, Israel's military said gunfire from Syria had hit an Israeli patrol on the Golan Heights overnight, damaging a vehicle and prompting the troops to fire back.

It said that the Israeli troops reported a "direct hit" from the return fire but provided no further details.

___

Associated Press writer Aron Heller contributed to this report from Jerusalem.
Associated Press
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Join the Conversation!

To comment, the following rules must be followed:

  • No Obscenity, Profanity, Vulgarity, Racism or Violent Descriptions
  • No Negative Community Comparisons
  • No Fighting, Name-calling, or Personal Attacks
  • Multiple Accounts are Not Allowed
  • Stay on Story Topic

Comments may be monitored for inappropriate content, but the station is under no legal obligation to do so.
If you believe a comment violates the above rules, please use the Flagging Tool to alert a Moderator.
Flagging does not guarantee removal.

Multiple violations may result in account suspension.
Decisions to suspend or unsuspend accounts are made by Station Moderators.
Links require admin approval before posting.
Questions may be sent to webmaster@wvlt-tv.com. Please provide detailed information.

powered by Disqus

WVLT VOLUNTEER TV

6450 Papermill Drive Knoxville, TN 37919 Phone - (865) 450-8888; Fax - (865) 450-8869
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2014 WVLT-TV Inc. - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 208275521 - local8now.com/a?a=208275521