Sunday, March 24, 2013
Israel fires retaliatory missile into Syria, wounding two soldiers
The defense minister added that Israel held the Syrian government responsible.
The rebel effort to overrun the Quneitra region along the ceasefire line separating Syria and Israel has heightened worries that Islamic extremists among those fighting Assad could take over the frontline with Israeli troops and gain a potential staging ground for attacks on the Jewish state.
The frontier has largely been calm in the nearly four decades since the two countries fought a war over the Golan Heights that ended with a UN-monitored ceasefire. But Israeli military officials have expressed concern that a rebel takeover could upset the calm maintained by Assad and his predecessor and father, the late Hafez Assad.
“We are seeing terror organizations gaining footholds increasingly in the territory,” said Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, Israel’s military chief at a conference in Israel last week. “For now, they are fighting Assad. Guess what? We’re next in line.”
Last month, members of the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade held 21 Filipino UNDOF peacekeepers hostage for four days, raising concerns about the future of UN operations in the area.