*By Ze’ev Ben-Yechiel*
*Tazpit News Agency*
An Israeli officer in the Golan Heights was injured this morning
(Wednesday, August 27) by stray fire coming from Syria, and a number of
evacuations were ordered in the area as fighting in the Syrian civil war
continues to spill over into Israel. Israeli forces retaliated several
hours later with an artillery strike against Syrian forces.
Shortly before noon, an IDF officer serving in an observation post in the
area was injured by mortar fire from the Syrian side. The officer was
evacuated to Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, where he is reported to be in
A number of Israeli farms in the Golan Heights were evacuated Wednesday
morning, following intensified fighting between the Syrian army and rebel
forces in the near the border. The Golan Regional council reported that
workers in farms in the Kuneitra Valley were ordered to move away from
areas near the border fence due to concerns that the fighting in Syria
would spill over into Israeli territory.
Reports also indicated that the lookout point on Mt. Avital, adjacent to
Kibbutz Ein Zivan and overlooking the Syrian town of Kuneitra across the
border, was also evacuated of civilians. Additional measures included the
evacuation of Avital Volcanic Park and the closure of the northern section
of Highway 98.
In retaliation for today’s stray mortar fire, IDF forces fired a salvo of
artillery at the Syrian position believed to be responsible for launching
the mortar. The strike was confirmed by the IDF. The Israeli military
maintains a policy of holding the Syrian government responsible for any
fire that enters Israeli territory.
In the latest flare-up near the border, locals reported hearing explosions
from tank or mortar shells since early morning, coming from the direction
of Kuneitra. Tuesday morning, several mortar shells from the fighting in
Syria exploded in the town of Aloni Bashan in the Golan Heights. No
injuries were reported in that incident.
Kuneitra has been the scene of multiple battles between the Syrian army and
opposition forces. Following its brief capture by the rebels in 2013 it
fell back into government hands, and remains the last pocket of government
resistance in the Golan Heights region of Syria.