Israel strikes Syrian targets in retaliation at boy’s death

23rd Jun 2014
Israel strikes Syrian targets in retaliation at boy’s death

Israeli warplanes bombed a series of targets inside Syria early Monday, the Israeli military announced. The attacks came in response to an attack that killed an Israeli teenager on Sunday.

Israel’s Defense Ministry said that nine military targets had been struck inside Syria, and that “direct hits were confirmed.” The targets, near the site of Sunday’s violence in the Golan Heights, included a regional military command center and unspecified “launching positions.”

A teenage boy was killed and two other people wounded Sunday when an Israeli civilian contractor vehicle delivering water was struck by forces in Syria as it drove in the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights. It was the first deadly incident along the volatile Israeli-Syrian border since Syria’s civil war erupted more than three years ago.

“Yesterday’s attack was an unprovoked act of aggression against Israel, and a direct continuation to recent attacks that occurred in the area,” said military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner. He added that the Israeli military “will not tolerate any attempt to breach Israel’s sovereignty and will act in order to safeguard the civilians of the state of Israel.”

Heightened tensions

Sunday’s attack was the most serious escalation along the official cease-fire line with Syria since the 1973 Middle East War. Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon warned that Damascus would pay a “high price” for helping militants bent on harming the Jewish state.

The targeted sites include Syrian military headquarters and launching positions, and “direct hits were confirmed”, said Lerner’s statement.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he spoke to the boy’s father and sent his condolences. “Our enemies don’t differentiate between Jews and non-Jews, adults and children,” he told an international gathering of Jewish journalists late Sunday.

Netanyahu added that in conflicts like Syria, where Islamist extremists are battling Iranian-backed Syrian troops, there is no side for Israel to take, and it is best for the country to sit back and let its enemies weaken each other. “This is a fault line between civilization and savagery,” he said.

bk/jr (AFP, AP)

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