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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Golan Heights residents prepare for escalation

Source: YNet News
By Maor Bucknik
Posted by Johna J Elizebeth on ISRAELI FRONTLINE facebook group


As the number of Syrian shooting incidents near the Golan Heights increases, the Golan Regional Council instructed residents of the region to prepare their shelters for potential attacks.

Sunday morning saw the IDF fire at a Syrian post – for the first time in nearly four decades – in retaliation over a 120mm mortar shell hit in the eastern Golan Heights.

The IDF's response – the firing of an advanced Tammuz missile at a Syrian post –catalyzed fear among the area's already anxious residents. 
  
The Golan community of Alonei HaBashan made sure it was prepared for any scenario: Shelters were organized and emergency equipment was examined to ensure it was up to par.



IDF fires into Syria

Yiska Dekel, chairwoman of the Alonei HaBashan committee, said: "Everyone who lives near the border should be prepared. But we're not hysteric. The shelter wasn’t even open until today, but now we're more alert."
  
Defense Minister Ehud Barak addressed the conflict in the north: "There are a few shots and shells fired at us from Syria. I instructed the IDF to retaliate if it reoccurs. Today it reoccurred, and the IDF chief ordered the troops to return fire. We also delivered warnings," Barak said.



IDF deploys forces in Golan, Sunday (Photo: Avihu Shapira)

Barak stressed he did not consider the tension in the Golan to be a "cardinal threat," but rather as a situation that offers "potential threat of an unpredictable area."

The last few months have seen the war in Syria taking its toll on Israeli citizens who reside near the border, with several mortar shells landing on Israeli soil, apparently unintentionally. Rebel forces are reportedly deployed in villages near the border with the Golan and have recently tried to act from within Quneitra, a town on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights.

Amir Duvdevani, a resident of Alonei Habashan, noted: "No one in our community expected such a response of the IDF. I think this shooting might evolve into a series of continuous strikes between both sides."

Boaz Fyler and Gilad Morag contributed to this report