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Israeli army says it hit 'terror squad' along Syria border

August 3, 2020

The Israeli army said it targeted four "terrorists" who were placing explosives along the frontier with Syria on Golan Heights. The incident comes amid heightened tensions on Israel's border with Syria and Lebanon.

Grenzregion zwischen Merom Golan (Israel) und Kuneitra (Syrien) I Golanhöhen I  Quneitra
Image: Getty Images/AFP/L. Beshara

The Israeli army on Monday said it had targeted a group of militants attempting to place explosives along the border fence with Syria on the Golan Heights.

"We just thwarted an attempt by 4 terrorists to place explosives near the security fence between Israel and Syria," the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said in a tweet. " Our troops and aircraft fired toward the squad and a hit was identified."

Israeli soldiers spotted the alleged militants near the frontier outpost in the early hours, the military said. No Israelis were injured, it added.

The IDF said it was "ready for any scenario," adding that it held the "Syrian regime responsible for all events in Syria."

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There was no immediate response from Syria.

Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Six Day War and annexed it in 1981. Most of the international community considers the move, and Israeli settlements in the territory, illegal under international law.

Rising tensions

In recent weeks, Israel has boosted its forces on its northern front amid heightened tensions with bordering Lebanon and Syria.

Last month, an alleged Israeli missile attack hit positions of Syrian regime forces south of Damascus, killing five people. Iran-backed Lebanese Shi'ite group Hezbollah said one of its fighters died in the raid on July 20 and vowed retaliation.

A week later, Israel said it had repelled an attempt by "terrorists" to cross over into its territory from Lebanon. The army said a group of three to five men carrying assault rifles crossed the Blue Line that divides the countries.

Israeli army spokesperson Jonathan Conricus said that they had tracked the group as they approached the Blue Line. "Once they crossed the border, we engaged," he said.

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The clashes did not result in any Israeli casualties, the army said. "We confirmed visually that the terrorists fled back to Lebanon," Conricus said.

In response, Hezbollah, which has a heavy presence in the area, said it did not take part in any clash.

"All that the enemy's media is claiming about thwarting an infiltration operation from Lebanon into occupied Palestine... is completely false," the group said in a statement.

adi/aw (Reuters, dpa)

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