'Israel will silence source of fire from Syria'



Jerusalem: Hours after Israeli Defence Minister vowed to "immediately silence" any fire from Syria, the country on Sunday said it has destroyed a machinegun position in the Golan Heights from where it came under fire twice.

"IDF forces destroyed a Syrian machine gun nest that fired twice in the last 24 hours on Israeli patrols operating to safeguard the border," Israeli Prime Minister's Office spokesman, Ofir Gendelman, said on his Twitter page.

Israel's newly appointed Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon today vowed to "immediately silence" any fire emanating from the Syrian side towards it in retaliation to attacks on Israel Defence Forces (IDF) at the strategic Golan Heights border.

"Every violation of Israeli sovereignty and shooting from the Syrian side will immediately be answered by silencing the source of fire," Yaalon said in a statement.

The remarks came shortly after the IDF opened fire at a Syrian military post today in retaliation to attacks on Israeli soldiers patrolling the bordering area.

The Israeli army used a Tamuz anti-tank guided missile at the Syrian post in the Tel Fares area in the southern Golan Heights.

There were no casualties on the Israeli side, but the Syrian post was destroyed and two armed Syrians were wounded..

Following the incident, construction of the northern border fence on the Israeli side was halted and army presence in the area increased placing the IDF on high alert.

"We view with great seriousness the shooting last night and this morning from Syria at an IDF force on territory of the State of Israel," Yaalon stressed.

"We see the Syrian regime as responsible for every breach of sovereignty. We shall not allow the Syrian army or any other body to violate Israeli sovereignty firing into our territory," he added.

"Soldiers responded with accurate fire toward the Syrian post from which they were fired upon," the Israeli army said confirming the retaliatory attack.

It was not immediately clear whether the shooting was from the Syrian army or from rebel forces fighting to dislodge the President Bashar al-Assad regime for nearly two years now.

Gunfire hit several Israeli military vehicles yesterday travelling in the same area, causing damage but no casualties, the army said.

Jerusalem earlier this month expressed concern that the UN peacekeeping force in the Golan Heights may pull out after Syrian rebels snatched 21 of their troops in the ceasefire zone bordering Israel.

The UN's Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), which also has an Indian contingent, has been monitoring the Syrian side of the armistice line since 1974.

In the 1967 Six-Day War, Israel seized the Golan from Syria and annexed it in 1981 in a move that has not won international recognition.

PTI