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Israeli fires into Syria for the second time, second day

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
November 13th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

n a demonstration of the deteriorating condition of the ongoing conflict in Syria, Israel's military shelled targets in Syria for the second time for a second day. The latest volley was in response was in response to a Syrian mortar shell that struck the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights last week.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Israel's army fired tank shells into Syria Monday, scoring "direct hits" in response to a Syrian mortar shell that struck the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

It marked the second time Israel had fired across the disengagement line drawn at the end of a war in 1973, underscoring international fears that Syria's civil war could ignite a broader, regional conflict.

Israeli military sources report that Syrian mobile artillery was directly hit in the second instance. It's not yet known whether it had been in the hands of Syrian army forces or the rebels they are battling.

The military said over the weekend it had a fired a guided missile into Syria in a potent "warning shot" after errant mortar fire had fallen on land that Israel seized in a 1967 war. Israel has now escalated the situation and made good on promises to target directly anyone firing across the lines.

"A short while ago, a mortar shell hit an open area in the vicinity of an (Israeli Defense Forces) post in the central Golan Heights, as part of the internal conflict inside Syria, causing no damage or injuries," the military statement said.

"In response, IDF soldiers fired tank shells towards the source of the fire, confirming direct hits. The IDF has filed a complaint with the U.N. forces operating in the area, stating that fire emanating from Syria into Israel will not be tolerated and shall be responded to with severity."

Syrian rebels fighting to oust President Bashar al-Assad brutal regime have been battling his army for months in towns inside and adjacent to the Area of Separation between Israel and Syria, along the disengagement line from the 1973 war.

Both Syria and Israel remain at war, but the Golan, a strategic plateau, has been largely quiet for decades.

Israel's Minister of Strategic Affairs Moshe Yaalon said he did not believe Assad wanted to wage war with Israel. According to Yaalon, it's the last thing the Syrian leader needs as he struggles to control his increasingly unsteady nation.

"In my estimation, there is almost no doubt that he has no interest in opening a front," he told Army Radio.

"He understands this. He is very careful. He responded to messages that were passed through different channels, and not just by us. Regarding chemical weapons and fighting on the border," Yaalon added, giving no further details.

There have been concerns in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon about incidents on their own borders with Syria, where forces loyal to Assad have been fighting rebels for 19 months.

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