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Assad threatens to retaliate against Israel as shells land on Golan

JTA

March 3, 2013 | 8:02 am

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad heads a cabinet meeting in Damascus, in this handout photograph distributed by Syria's national news agency SANA on Feb. 12.  Photo by REUTERS/SANA/Handout

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad heads a cabinet meeting in Damascus, in this handout photograph distributed by Syria's national news agency SANA on Feb. 12. Photo by REUTERS/SANA/Handout

Syrian President Bashar Assad said that his country would retaliate against Israel for a January air strike on a weapons facility near Damascus, a day after mortar shells fired from Syria landed in northern Israel.

The mortar shells fired from Syria landed Saturday on the Golan Heights, and reportedly were fired into Israeli territory accidentally during a fire fight between Syrian rebels and Syrian government military forces.

It was the second time in recent days that mortar fire from Syria landed in Israeli territory. United Nations peace keeping troops were told about the strike.

Assad said in an interview published in London's Sunday Times that his country would retaliate for what is believed to be an Israeli strike on a research facility near Damascus used for developing chemical weapons. The facility was bombed in January.

"We retaliated in our own way, and only the Israelis know what we mean. Retaliation does not mean missile for missile or bullet for bullet. Our own way does not have to be announced," Assad told the Sunday Times.

Meanwhile, Syrian opposition forces accused the Syrian government of firing mortars at a historic synagogue located near Damascus. A video of the Jobar Synagogue, which is 2,000 years old, showing damage to parts of the building, including showing that the roof was blown off, was posted on YouTube over the weekend by the Syrian opposition’s military council.

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