Israel says it is striking targets in Syrian territory in response to rocket fire


Israel says it is striking targets in Syrian territory after three rockets were launched toward it from Syria on Saturday.

One of the rockets landed in the southern Golan Heights, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said. The IDF said it did not need to intercept the rockets, according to a post on Twitter.

“In response to the rockets fired from Syria at Israel earlier today, IDF Artillery is currently striking in Syrian territory,” the Israel Defense Forces said on its Twitter account on Saturday evening local time.

It said an IDF UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle or drone) is “currently striking the launchers in Syria from which rockets were launched into Israeli territory earlier tonight.”

In an earlier tweet, the IDF had said that sirens were “sounding in northern Israel.”

The IDF has not reported any damage caused by the rockets.

Israel seized the Golan Heights from Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War and annexed the narrow strip of land in 1981. The Golan Heights are considered occupied territory under international law and UN Security Council resolutions.

The news comes after Israel struck Palestinian militant targets in southern Lebanon and Gaza early Friday, after dozens of rockets were fired from Lebanon into Israeli territory.

The rocket launches come amid heightened tensions in the region following Israeli police raids on the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.

Israeli police raids of the mosque are considered by Muslims as a major provocation.

Israeli police raided the mosque twice on Wednesday last week, claiming that “hundreds of rioters and mosque desecrators (had) barricaded themselves” inside.

On Saturday night, the Israeli police again alleged that, “many youngsters [had] entered the mosque and closed the doors, for no reason.”

Israel’s neighbor Jordan warned of “catastrophic consequences” if Israeli forces were to storm the mosque again.

Israeli soldiers patrol during a search for a rocket that landed near Kibbutz Meitsar in the Golan Heights on April 9, 2023.

Should the Israeli police, “assault worshipers again, in an attempt to empty [the mosque] of worshipers, in preparation for major incursions into the mosque,” it would, “push the situation towards more tension and violence, for which everyone will pay the price,” the Jordanian Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Ambassador Sinan al-Majali, said in a statement late on Saturday local time.

“The Israeli government bears responsibility for the escalation in Jerusalem and in all the occupied Palestinian territories and for the deterioration that will worsen if it does not stop its incursions into the holy al-Aqsa mosque… and its terrorization of worshipers in these blessed days,” al-Majali said.

The warning from Jordan was followed by a statement from the Israeli Foreign Ministry early on Sunday, saying that people who “barricade themselves inside [the al-Aqsa mosque] are a dangerous mob, radicalized and incited by Hamas and other terror organizations.”

The Israeli Foreign Ministry called on Jordan’s Waqf guards, “to immediately remove from the al-Aqsa Mosque these extremists who are planning to riot (on Sunday) during Muslim prayers on the Temple Mount and the Priestly Blessing at the Western Wall.”

The Waqf is the Jordan-appointed body that manages the al-Aqsa mosque compound, known as the Temple Mount by Jews.

In a separate development on Saturday night, the IDF killed a 20-year-old Palestinian man in the occupied West Bank town of Azzoun, according to the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Health.

The man, Ayed Azam Salim, was shot and killed by live Israeli bullets in the abdomen and chest in the Qalqilya district, according to the ministry.

“Following routine activity, multiple suspects hurled an explosive device towards IDF soldiers at town of Azzun,” the IDF said in a statement. Soldiers responded “with live ammunition towards them” and a person was hit, the statement added. No IDF soldiers were injured, according to the statement.

Salim was taken to a hospital in Qalqilya where he died, according to Palestinian News Agency WAFA.

On Friday, one person was killed and seven others injured in a car-ramming attack in Tel Aviv. Police said that the car was driven by a 45-year-old resident of Kfar Kasem, a predominantly Arab city east of Tel Aviv.

The victim, an Italian tourist, was named by Israeli and Italian authorities as Alessandro Parini. Italian media said he was a 35-year-old lawyer. Israeli authorities described the incident as a “terror attack.”