Syrian mortar lands in Golan as Netanyahu visits area


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s Air Force targeted a Syrian military installation that fired a mortar at the Golan Heights at the same time as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was visiting,

The mortar landed on the Golan Heights near the Quneitra area on Wednesday as Netanyahu spoke about 10 miles away at an event marking the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the northern Golan town of Katzrin.

“I said that we will not tolerate spillover and that we will respond to every firing. During my speech, shells from the Syrian side landed in our territory and the IDF has already struck back. Whoever attacks us, we will attack him. This is our policy and we will continue with it,” Netanyahu said following his remarks after being informed of the strike.

During his remarks, provided by his office, the Israeli leader said: “The Golan is ours and the Golan will always be ours. The Golan is ours because it belonged to our forefathers, and because it was taken back by us due to Syrian aggression.”

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Netanyahu referred to the long-running Syrian civil war.

“Our line is clear: We are not interfering in the bloody conflict in Syria, which has lasted more than six years, but we are determined to respond firmly and forcefully to any violation of our sovereignty. Anyone who fires at our territory and endangers our citizens will receive a harsh and quick response, he said.

He added that Israel “will not allow radical Islam, led by Iran or the Islamic State, to open a terrorist front against the State of Israel from the Syrian side of the Golan Heights.”

Rocket or mortar fire — believed to be stray fire from the fighting between rebels and the Syrian army in the area — has struck the Golan Heights at least three times in the past week. Israel’s military has responded to all of the incidents.

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