Israel says Syria behind deadly cross-border attack

Israeli cabinet ministers on Tuesday accused forces loyal to Syria`s President Bashar al-Assad of being behind a weekend cross-border attack that killed an Arab Israeli teenager.

AFP| Last Updated: Jun 24, 2014, 21:18 PM IST

Jerusalem: Israeli cabinet ministers on Tuesday accused forces loyal to Syria`s President Bashar al-Assad of being behind a weekend cross-border attack that killed an Arab Israeli teenager.

The attack prompted Israel to hit back with tank fire and air strikes, which Syria said killed four of its soldiers, in the most serious cross-border hostility between the two sides for months.

"We received all the analyses and intelligence: it was clear that it was Syrian authorities," Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told public radio.

"Assad`s forces fired at the Israeli civilian, on the vehicles that had stopped by the border, and they need to pay the price," he added.

Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon echoed his comments.

"Any attack on our sovereignty on the Golan Heights will be followed by a harsh response in kind against Assad`s forces," Yaalon told public radio.

A 13-year-old Arab Israeli, the son of a defence ministry contractor, was killed on the plateau on Sunday when a missile hit the car he was in with his father.

The army said it was a deliberate attack on Israel, but was initially uncertain as to whether regime or opposition forces were behind it.

Israel responded immediately with tank fire and later air strikes targeting Syrian military headquarters and positions.

Syria said the strikes killed four soldiers and wounded nine, and on Monday urged the United Nations to condemn Israel`s "flagrant violation" of its territory.

Lieberman said the Israeli response was "just how it should have been", and warned: "That`s also how it will be in the future."

"I hope Damascus got the message," he added.

The Israeli army, meanwhile, said it was "observing the border very closely" and was "prepared for any development", but made no major changes in its deployment on the frontier.

"It seems that things are under control," army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner told AFP.

It was Israel`s first air raid against Syrian forces since March, when the Jewish state launched strikes after a bomb wounded four of its soldiers on the Golan.

That bombing marked the most serious escalation along the ceasefire line with Syria since the 1973 Middle East War, with Yaalon warning at the time that Damascus would pay a "high price" for helping militants bent on harming Israel.