Israel fires back at Syria after rocket attack

GlobalPost
An Israeli soldier prepares to load shells into his Merkava tank positioned near the Quneitra checkpoint on the border with Syria in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights, June 22, 2014.
MENAHEM KAHANA

Israel bombed neighboring Syria on Thursday evening in retaliation for four rockets from Syria that hit Israeli territory earlier in the day, according to reports.

The four rockets from Syria hit northern Israel on Thursday afternoon — two landed in the Upper Galilee and two landed in the Golan Heights, according to the Jerusalem Post

Sirens sounded to warn residents of the incoming projectiles, which started small fires upon making contact with targets. No injuries were reported. 

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) said the rockets were fired by the Iran-backed Islamic Jihad group, according to AP, though no party had claimed responsibility at the time of this report.

Israel said it holds the Syrian government responsible for projectiles that originate in Syria, and the IDF confirmed reports of retaliatory strikes.

“We attacked targets in Syria this evening,” the IDF said, according to the Times of Israel

The military did not elaborate further as to the nature of their retaliatory strikes, according to AP.

An opposition activist who goes by Abu Omar al-Golani told AP that Israeli tanks fired four shells at Syrian army and pro-government positions near the town of Baath and the village of Khan Arnabeh in southern Syria.

Israel and Syria are bitter enemies. Still, the border between the two countries has been mostly quiet since the 1973 war.

Since the Syrian conflict broke out in 2011, sporadic mortar shells and gunfire have hit Israel on several occasions, but Thursday's attack marks the first time since 1973 that rockets from Syrian territory have hit Israel.

Israel has previously responded to attacks from Syria, some of which have been accidental spillover from the Syrian conflict next door.