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Syria

Israel claims 'direct hits' on Syrian artillery

The Israeli military has claimed to have fired on Syrian forces, scoring "direct hits." It said was replying to Syrian mortar shelling of the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights.

A statement from the Israeli military said troops fired tank shells into Syria Monday, claiming "Syrian mobile artillery was directly hit."

The action came after Syrian forces had fired into the Golan Heights.

"A short while ago, a mortar shell hit an open area in the vicinity of an [Israeli Defense Force] post in the central Golan Heights, as part of the internal conflict inside Syria, causing no damage or injures," it said.

Israel fires on Syria

"Firing emanating from Syria into Israel will not be tolerated and shall be responded to with severity," added the statement, saying that Israel had filed a complaint with UN peacekeeping forces in the area.

The Israeli military did not specify whether the mortar fired into the Golan Heights came from the Syrian army or rebel forces.

The incident marks the second time in as many days that Israel has fired into Syria after fighting spilled over into Israeli-controlled territory. On Sunday, Israel said it had fired a "warning shot" across the disengagement line.

The Syrian military and rebel forces have been fighting for months near the Area of Separation between Israel and Syria. The disengagement line was drawn between the two countries after their 1973 war.

Technically both are still at war, but the Golan, a strategic plateau, had been largely quiet for decades.

dr/ipj  (AFP, Reuters, dpa, AP)

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