JERUSALEM: Israel’s Iron Dome missile defence system destroyed two rockets fired from Syria at the Israeli-held zone of the Golan Heights on Saturday in an apparent rise in tension between the uneasy neighbours.
“A projectile fired from Syria was intercepted by the Iron Dome aerial defence system. No injuries have been reported,” a military statement said on Saturday afternoon.
“This is the first time that fire from Syria has been intercepted by the Iron Dome aerial defence system,” a military spokesman said in response to a query.
Later in the day the army said Iron Dome took down a second projectile.
It was a marked departure from recent tit-for-tat artillery fire and occasional retaliatory air strikes.
Israel deployed batteries on its northern flank as a precautionary measure after a 2015 Israeli air strike against the Lebanese Hezbollah group’s forces in Syria.
Israeli public radio said the military believed the latest fire from Syria was an unintentional spill-over from the country’s complex civil war.
Israel has sought to avoid being drawn into the conflict, but has attacked Syrian military targets when fire fell on its side of the divide.
On Tuesday, Israeli aircraft targeted Syrian army positions after stray fire hit the Israeli-occupied zone. Syria said it had shot down an Israeli warplane and a drone, a claim denied by Israel.
Israel seized 1,200 square kilometres of the Golan from Syria in the Six-Day War of 1967 and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the international community.