Israel could increase action against Syria, official says

Israel could increase action against Syria, official says

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Israel could increase action against Syria, official says

Smoke rises after shells fired by the Syrian army explode in the Syrian village of Bariqa, Monday, Nov. 12, 2012. AP Photo

Shells from Syria that recently landed in Israel were either fired by mistake or were deliberately shot to turn international attention from Syria to Israel, an official from the Israeli Foreign Ministry has said, hinting at a greater Israeli reaction.

“We hope Israel will not be pulled into this fighting, because if these attacks continue, we will also be firing back,” the official said.

The Israeli military said it fired into Syria for a second straight day yesterday in response to errant mortar fire that landed in the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights.

“After enduring several instances of fire from Syria toward Israel and the Golan Heights without response, including one mortar shell that fell on the village of Aloney Habashan, Israel fired a warning shot yesterday toward the vicinity of an army post from where the latest attack had come,” the Israeli Foreign Ministry said.

There were no reports of injuries on either side of the frontier Nov. 12, but the confrontation has fueled new fears that Israel could be dragged into the Syrian civil war violence, a scenario with grave consequences for the region.

Israeli officials have warned that they will respond harshly if the attacks persist.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry said Syria’s firing into Israel was similar to an Oct. 3 incident in which shells from Syria struck the Turkish border town of Akçakale, killing five civilians.

“Like Turkey, Israel has also come under fire in recent weeks from the Syrian side of the border and just as Turkey is a sovereign country that reserves the right to self-defense, Israel, too, reserves the right to defend its civilian population,” the ministry official said.