TEL AVIV Ñ Syrian troops fired on an Israeli military unit in the
Golan Heights in the first such incident in years.
Israeli officials said Syrian soldiers opened fire on an Israeli
commando force during a clash with infiltrators in the southern Golan
Heights on Wednesday. The officials said Syrian soldiers entered Israel and
encountered an Israeli unit in a border area where Israel, Jordan and Syria
meet, Middle East Newsline reported.
"One of our infantry patrols on our side of the border was fired upon,"
Israeli Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Moshe Ya'alon said. "It returned fire,
killing one armed man and captured another armed man who surrendered."
Israeli military sources provided the following account. They said that
two men wearing Syrian army uniforms and armed with AK-47 assault rifles
crossed into Israel. The infiltrators were soon spotted by an elite Egoz
The Israeli soldiers opened fire, killing one Syrian and wounding
another. The sources said at that point Syrian soldiers nearby opened fire
on the Israeli force. Nobody was wounded.
"Some of the [Syrian] soldiers opened fire on our forces," Brig.Gen. Avi
Mizrachi, head of Israeli forces on the Golan Heights, said. "We did not
The sources said three other men in Syrian army uniforms were on the
other side of the border preparing to enter when the infiltrators were
discovered. The Israeli force did not cross the Syrian border, the sources
Officials said this was the first time in decades that Syrian soldiers
fired into Israel from the Golan Heights. The two countries have observed a
United Nations ceasefire accord since 1974.
In Damascus, a Syrian government communique acknowledged the firefight
along the border with Israel. But the official statement said the Syrian
border police officers were searching for water and did not enter Israeli