Israeli military attacks Syria after rocket fire

Israeli police gather next to a car used in a deadly ramming attack in Tel Aviv. (Photo: Ben Stansall/AFP)

The Israeli army announced that Israel launched artillery strikes against Syria on Sunday morning after several rockets fired from Syria impacted the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

The Israeli and Syrian projectile attacks — for which no one has claimed responsibility — are the most recent escalation of violence in the region.

"In response to the rockets fired from Syria at Israel earlier today, IDF Artillery is currently conducting strikes inside Syria," the military tweeted.

A drone was also "currently striking the launchers in Syria from which rockets were fired into Israeli territory," according to the report.

Saturday night, six missiles were fired at Israel, with two landing in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, according to the army. The Israeli air defence system intercepted at least one missile.

The 1,200 square kilometres (460 square miles) region bordering Lebanon and patrolled by the Israeli military was seized from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War. Later, Israel annexed the territory in a move never recognized by the international community.

The increase in violence and unrest coincides with the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, the Jewish holiday of Passover, and the Christian holiday of Easter.

On Wednesday, Israeli police assaulted the prayer hall of Al-Aqsa mosque, the third-holiest site in Islam, in a predawn raid intended to dislodge "law-breaking youths and masked agitators" who had barricaded themselves inside, according to the police.

The following day, more than thirty rockets were launched from Lebanese territory into Israel, which the Israeli army attributed to Palestinian groups, stating that it was most likely Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip.

Israel then bombarded Gaza and southern Lebanon, targeting alleged Hamas "terror infrastructures."

It was the most significant salvo fired from Lebanon since Israel's 34-day conflict with Iran-backed militant group Hezbollah in 2006 and the first time Israel confirmed an attack on Lebanese territory since April 2022.

Israel and Lebanon are technically at war, and the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) is deployed south of the country to patrol the armistice line.

Israel recently increased its attacks against pro-Iranian positions on the Syrian side.

Violence in Israel

On Friday evening, an Italian tourist was killed, and seven other pedestrians were injured in a suspected car-ramming assault on the Tel Aviv seafront.

Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the police to "mobilize all reserve border police units."

According to his administration, he also ordered the army to "mobilize additional forces."

Friday morning, two 16- and 20-year-old British-Israeli sisters were killed. Their mother was severely injured when their vehicle was fired upon in the Jordan Valley in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Four reserve battalions of border police will be deployed in city centres beginning Sunday, according to the police.

The defence ministry confirmed late Saturday night that it had deployed soldiers to assist the police and would tighten entry restrictions for Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza, especially labourers.

High Tensions

Israeli riot police assaulted the prayer hall of Al-Aqsa mosque in a predawn raid on Wednesday to dislodge "law-breaking youths and masked agitators" who they claimed had barricaded themselves inside.

This year, the Muslim fasting month coincided with the Jewish Passover holiday, heightening tensions with the tens of thousands of Palestinians who pray at Al-Aqsa during the Jewish holiday.

Despite his repeated denials, the Palestinians fear Netanyahu's far-right government may alter the longstanding regulations that permit Jews to visit but not pray in the mosque compound.

Since the beginning of January, at least 92 Palestinians, 18 Israelis, one Ukrainian, and one Italian have been killed in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli and Palestinian official sources.

These numbers include combatants and civilians, including minors, on the Palestinian side, mostly civilians, including children, and three Arab minority members on the Israeli side.

Publish : 2023-04-09 09:45:00

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