IDF troops opened fire on Syrian positions on the other side of the Golan border fence while IDF planes flew a sortie over the source of the fire, after shots were fired at Israeli positions from the Syrian side of the fence. IDF sources said that four terrorists associated with the Islamic State terror group were eliminated in the incident.
Several mortar shells fell in conjunction with the shootings, officials said. The shots were fired at an IDF patrol that was working along the fence. No injuries were reported among IDF soldiers, and soldiers began a search for the shooters.
The IDF said it was not clear if the soldiers were targeted or were victims of “stray” bullets fired by groups as part of the ongoing civil war in Syria. The last incident on the Golan occurred two weeks ago, when a mortar shell fired by Syrian rebel groups landed in Israel. The shell landed on the Israeli side of the border fence near Kuneitra, where rebel groups were still engaged in pitched battles with Syrian army forces.
Amos Yadlin, a former military intelligence chief and current director of the Institute for National Security Studies, an independent think tank, said it was too early to determine whether the attack marked a shift in IS policy or just a local initiative by some of its terrorists.
He said that IS has been very careful to avoid attacking Israel to this point since it has been engaged with so many other adversaries. But with its back against the wall in Syria and Iraq, he said they may be looking for a propaganda victory by targeting Israel. He said they were capable of far worse than a routine ambush.
“We will have to watch closely in the future to see if this is a change of policy,” Yadlin said. “I don’t think this is a planned strategy.”
Overnight Motzoei Shabbos, security officials said they arrested seven wanted security suspects in other areas in Yehudah and Shomron. The suspects were wanted for participating in rioting and throwing stones and firebombs that endangered Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers. Several of the suspects were also charged with belonging to Hamas. All were being questioned on their activities by security forces.