Sunday, January 11, 2009

Israel says shots fired from Syria at Golan troops

11 Jan 2009 16:07:22 GMT
Source: Reuters

JERUSALEM, Jan 11 (Reuters) - The Israeli army said troops in the Golan Heights came under small arms fire from Syria on Sunday and that, although no one was hurt, it had complained to the United Nations force that monitors the frontier area.

"There were a number of bullets fired from Syria at an Israeli army force doing engineering work near the fence," an army spokesman said of the incident, which came amid an Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip that has outraged many Arabs.

"No one was hurt but a vehicle was damaged," the spokesman added. "Forces in the field are examining the incident and a complaint was sent to UNDOF which sent a team there. The circumstances of the incident are still unclear."

There was no immediate comment from Syria or from UNDOF, the U.N. force which monitors a usually quiet ceasefire line between Israeli forces on the Golan Heights and Syrian troops.

Israel captured the plateau from Syria in a war in 1967 and later annexed it in a move not recognised internationally.

Syria wants the land back and had begun Turkish-mediated indirect peace talks with Israel last year, the closest contact the two sides had had since 2000. Syria said it broke off the talks after Israel's invasion of the Gaza Strip on Dec. 27.

Israel says it has stepped up security along its borders since the Gaza offensive began. Three rockets fired from Lebanon hit the north of Israel on Friday, although Israeli and Lebanese officials called this an isolated incident which they attributed to Palestinian refugee groups rather than Hezbollah guerrillas. (Writing by Alastair Macdonald; Editing by Louise Ireland)


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