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Syrian army accuses Israel of escalation following airstrikes

JTA

March 19, 2014 | 10:14 am

An Israeli soldier stands beside a mobile artillery unit in the Golan Heights on March 19. Photo by Ronen Zvulun/Reuters

An Israeli soldier stands beside a mobile artillery unit in the Golan Heights on March 19. Photo by Ronen Zvulun/Reuters

The Syrian army accused Israel of breaking international law by firing on Syrian targets in the wake of a roadside explosive that injured four Israeli soldiers, one seriously.

“We’re warning (Israel) of desperate attempts to bring to an escalation of the situation,” said a statement issued Wednesday by the Syrian military. “Repeating such hostile acts (airstrikes) would endanger the security and stability of the region and make it open to all possibilities.”

Early Wednesday morning, the Israeli Air Force bombed several targets in southern Syria. The targets were involved in an attack the previous day on an Israeli patrol and included a military training camp, an artillery battery and Syrian army headquarters in the Syrian Golan.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also addressed the airstrikes, saying Wednesday at the start of a regular Cabinet meeting, “Our policy is very clear: We attack those who attack us. We are also, to the best of our ability, interdicting the transfer of weapons by sea, air and land, and this activity will continue.”

He added, “From time to time we must take vigorous action, as we are now doing, so that this quiet may continue. This vigorous policy is what is responsible for maintaining Israel’s security and that of its citizens.”

The Syrian military said one soldier was killed and seven wounded in the Israeli airstrikes.

On Wednesday, the Israel Defense Forces reinforced its outposts in the Golan Heights against an escalation of the violence between Israel and Syria as well as between the Syrian military and rebel forces.

The IDF is expected to increase its patrols and operations on the Syrian border in the wake of the incident and other similar incidents in recent weeks.

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