IDF strikes Syrian army targets following Golan rocket attacks

Redheart

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Hezbollah finally fires rockets into Israeli territory and the Israelis answer fire with fire. They'll force Assad to either expel the militants or ask them not to engage Israel from within Syria's borders.

IDF strikes Syrian army targets following Golan rocket attacks - Arab-Israeli Conflict - Jerusalem Post

The Israel Air Force (IAF) struck Syrian army artillery targets late on Tuesday night in response to an earlier rocket attack carried out on the Golan Heights and Mount Hermon.

"The IDF views the Syrian regime as responsible for what occurs in its territory, and will act at any time and any way it sees fit to protect the citizens of Israel," the IDF said.

The targets were accurately struck, the IDF added.

IDF confirmation of the strike came minutes following reports of air sirens being heard in the Golan Heights, which later proved to be false alarms.

Two rockets exploded in the northern Golan Heights on Tuesday, triggering air raid sirens and sending local residents, including some 1000 visitors to the Mount Hermon ski site, fleeing for cover.

The projectiles exploded in open territory, failing to cause injuries or damages. The IDF quickly returned fire, directing artillery fire at the sources of rocket fire in Syria.

Hermon was evacuated of all tourists in the minutes following the attacks.

A security source later said Hezbollah was behind Tuesday's rocket attacks.

The source added that the IDF continues to be in high preparation mode for potential further events. "Syria is responsible for what happens on Syrian territory," the source said. "We will see how further events unfold." A second source added that there are no planned school cancellations or special security instructions for residents of the north at this time. The source said the Home Front Command would notify civilians if changes occur. The Hermon site remained closed.

The rocket attacks come nine days after a strike on a Hezbollah convoy in Syria which has been widely attributed to Israel.

Six Hezbollah operatives were killed in the strike, along with six Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) operatives, including a high-ranking general. Among the Hezbollah operatives killed in the strike was Jihad Mougniyeh, the son of Hezbollah's former military leader, Imad Moughniyeh, who according to Western intelligence sources, was in the midst of setting up a terrorism base on the Syrian Golan and plotting rocket attacks, bombings, anti-tank missile strikes, and cross-border infiltrations against Israel.

Iran and Hezbollah-affiliated figures have vowed to retaliate for the strike.

Responding to the incident, Labor leader Isaac Herzog said "it is clear to me and to all of us that we can trust the IDF and security establishment and they will know to make the right decisions." According to Herzog, there was a tangible strain on citizens' personal safety during Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's tenure, in Jerusalem, near the Gaza border, in Tel Aviv and in the Golan.

"The time has come to bring back Israelis' sense of security - personal and social. One depends on the other," he added, speaking to students at Sapir College in Sderot. "We need to be determined and enlist the world to Israel's side for the good of our security interests, because we cannot make a living without security, and there is no security without being able to make a living The IDF has over the past several days been on alert across the north, deploying air defense, armored units, infantry, and artillery guns.

On Monday, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said Iran is seeking to open a new front against Israel from the Syrian Golan Heights.

Iran seeks to attack Israel, :whether from Lebanon with Hezbollah or from Gaza, with Hamas and Islamic Jihad, or whether it’s what we saw last Sunday – an Iranian arm that is beginning to develop, to open a front against us on the Golan Heights," Ya'alon said.

The targets of last week’s strike included senior Hezbollah member Mohammad Issa; and IRGC Gen. Muhammad Ali Allahdadi.
 

BLACKEAGLE

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Hezbollah claims Israel border operation


An Israeli tank maneuvers during a drill in the Golan Heights, near the border between the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights and Syria. (File photo: AP)


By Staff writer | Al Arabiya News
Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Mortar bombs hit an Israeli military position in the occupied Golan Heights on Wednesday, the Israeli army said, shortly after a military vehicle nearby on the Lebanon border was hit by an anti-tank missile.

There were no casualties in the mortar attack, while four soldiers were wounded in the anti-tank missile attack claimed by Lebanese Hezbollah.

The incidents came several hours after Israel launched an air strike in Syria. Tensions that have escalated in the frontier area over the past 10 days after an Israeli strike in Syria which killed several Hezbollah men and an Iranian general.

Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV said nine Israeli vehicles were damaged in the attack on the Shebaa farms frontier area. The militant group said it will release a statement on the attacks soon.

A Lebanese political source told Reuters that Hezbollah has launched a "big operation" targeting an Israeli military convoy in the Shebaa farms frontier.

The Israeli army said the vehicle was hit by the projectile.

"Initial reports indicate a military vehicle was hit, apparently by an anti-tank missile in the area of Har Dov," the army said on its official Twitter feed, using Israel's term for the Shebaa Farms which is also close to the ceasefire line with Syria.

An Israeli security source quoted by Agence France-Presse said a number of people were wounded in the incident after their vehicle came under "very heavy fire at close range," saying the incident was still ongoing.

On the other hand, Israel fired thirteen shells on an open farmland in southern Lebanon close to the frontier.

The shells struck near Wazzani village and the Lebanese army ordered residents to evacuate the area, Al Arabiya’s correspondent reported.

Israeli aircrafts also struck Syrian army artillery positions early on Wednesday in retaliation for rockets launched at the Israel-occupied Golan Heights a day earlier, the Israeli army said

On Tuesday, at least two rockets from Syria hit the Golan Heights and Israel responded with artillery fire, the army said.

The incident forced Israel to evacuate its Mt. Hermon ski resort on the Golan Heights, although a resort official said it had reopened for business on Wednesday.

The airstrike on Jan. 18 killed six fighters of Lebanon’s Hezbollah group and Iranian Revolutionary Guard General Mohammad Ali Allahdadi, who were fighting in support for President Bashar al-Assad in Syria's civil war.

Iran warns of consequences

Iran has told the United States on Tuesday that Israel “crossed Iran's red lines” for killing an Iranian general in the attack on the Golan Heights.

"We have sent a message to the United States through diplomatic channels telling the Americans that the Zionist regime crossed Iran's red lines by this action," said Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.

"In this message, we said those responsible should wait to suffer the consequences of their act," he added, in remarks carried by the official IRNA news agency.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said before the Israeli response that Washington had seen the news of Tuesday's rocket firing and did not want "an escalation of the situation."

"We support Israel's legitimate right to self defence and have been clear about our concerns over the regional instability caused by the crisis in Syria," she told reporters.

"We call upon all parties to avoid any action that would jeopardise the long-held ceasefire between Israel and Syria and abide by the 1974 disengagement of forces agreement."

Israel captured the Golan from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war. Mortar shells and rockets have struck the heights numerous times during Syria’s nearly four-year-old civil war.



[with Agencies]

Last Update: Wednesday, 28 January 2015 KSA 14:29 - GMT 11:29

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/New...ssed-Iran-s-red-lines-after-Golan-attack.html
 

BLACKEAGLE

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Iran sends 'warning to Israel via US officials'

Tehran says Israel should 'await consequences' for the recent killing of an Iranian general in an air strike in Syria.


Revolutionary Guard General Mohammad Ali Allahdadi was killed in an air strike in Syrian-controlled part of the Golan Heights [AP]
Tehran said it sent a warning to Israel through the United States over the recent killing of an Iranian general in an Israeli air strike in Syria, the official IRNA news agency reports.

"We told the Americans that the leaders of the Zionist regime should await the consequences of their act,'' IRNA quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian as saying. Israel has "crossed our red lines'', he added.

Amirabdollahian said Iran had sent the message on Tuesday through diplomatic channels to US officials, to hand over to Israel. He did not elaborate.

The January 18 strike in the Syrian-controlled part of the disputed Golan Heights killed Iranian General Mohammad Ali Allahdadi, a senior commander in the Revolutionary Guards, along with six Lebanese Hezbollah fighters.

Allahdadi was one of the highest ranking Iranian officers known to have been killed abroad in decades.

Amirabdollahian spoke during a commemoration on Tuesday for the Iranian general. The Guards' acting commander, General Hossein Salami, said Iran will soon retaliate for his death.

"We tell them [Israelis to] await retaliation but we will decide about its timing, place and the strength,'' Salami said at the ceremony.

US disregards threat

Both Iran and Hezbollah, close allies of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, blamed Israel, which is believed to have been behind a number of air strikes in Syria in recent years. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied the air strike.

In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki would not comment on private diplomatic talks with Iran, beyond saying that no threat to Israel was delivered in the latest round of nuclear talks between US and Iranian officials.

"We absolutely condemn any such threats that come in any form," Psaki told reporters.

Iran and the US have had no diplomatic relations since Iranian armed students stormed the US embassy in Tehran and held Americans there hostage for 444 days in 1979.

The two nations normally exchange diplomatic messages through the Swiss embassy, which looks after US interests in Iran.

Diplomats from both countries also meet directly on other occasions, such as the current negotiations to limit the scope of the Iranian nuclear programme in exchange for easing harsh international sanctions against Tehran.

Source: Associated Press

Iran sends 'warning to Israel via US officials' - Al Jazeera English
 
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Hezbollah missile wounds four Israeli soldiers on Lebanon frontier| Reuters

A missile strike has hit an Israeli military vehicle wounding four soldiers. Hezbollah has claimed responsibility for the attack, citing revenge on an Israeli airstrike in Syria that killed senior Hezbollah members. There are conflicting reports on either side regarding casualties and whether an Israeli soldier had been kidnapped. Israel has responded with an artillery strike in open farmlands in southern Lebanon.
 
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This is a never ending war and this region is always killing more and more people. In this case there are no civilians dead, but it must be terrible to live in that area.
 

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Hezbollah Convoy Transports American Tanks, Heavy Weaponry






 

Redheart

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I wonder if this will escalate to full scale war. Was Israel seeking to provoke Iran to retaliate so they could have a good reason for bombing Iran's nuclear installations? Not that it would be a bad thing but what would it cost Israel to launch such an attack?
 

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Israel: Hezbollah not interested in escalating violence



Burning vehicles are seen near the village of Ghajar on Israel’s border with Lebanon January 28, 2015. (Reuters)


Reuters, Jerusalem
Thursday, 29 January 2015

Israel said on Thursday it received a message from the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah that it was backing away from further violence, a day after the worst deadly clashes in years erupted along the border.

The Israel-Lebanon frontier, where two Israeli soldiers and a Spanish peacekeeper were killed in an exchange of fire between Hezbollah and Israel, appeared quiet early on Thursday.

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said Israel had received a message from a U.N. peacekeeping force in Lebanon that Hezbollah was not interested in further escalation.

“Indeed, a message was received,” he said. “There are lines of coordination between us and Lebanon via UNIFIL (the U.N. force) and such a message was indeed received from Lebanon.”

In Beirut, Hezbollah officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

“I can’t say whether the events are behind us,” Yaalon added in a separate radio interview. “Until the area completely calms down, the Israel Defense Forces will remain prepared and ready.”

The Israeli soldiers were killed when Hezbollah fired five missiles at a convoy of Israeli military vehicles. The attack appeared to be in retaliation for a Jan. 18 Israeli air strike in southern Syria that killed several Hezbollah members and an Iranian general.

The peacekeeper in southern Lebanon was killed as Israel responded with air strikes and artillery fire, a U.N. spokesman and Spanish officials said.

Last Update: Thursday, 29 January 2015 KSA 10:21 - GMT 07:21

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/New...ah-not-interested-in-escalating-violence.html
 

BLACKEAGLE

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Hezbollah and Israel: Redefining rules of engagement
Thursday, 29 January 2015




Joyce Karam


Ten days after the Quneitra airstrike which left six of its members dead, among them Jihad Imad Mughniyeh, Hezbollah responded in a limited but precise attack yesterday on the Lebanese-Israeli border killing two and injuring six Israeli soldiers. This round of escalation between Israel and Hezbollah is more about redefining their rules of engagement rather than plunging into a full blown war as was the case in 2006.

For Hezbollah, the attack was a show of strength to both Israel and the party’s support base whom the Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah will address today. Hezbollah’s desired message from the operation is to prove that its role in Syria is not rendering it incapable to responding to its archenemy Israel. The validity of such a proposition can only be tested in an open war, however, which both sides are seeking to avoid at the moment.

Why Hezbollah chose Shebaa

By ruling out an escalation that neither Hezbollah nor the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu want - for Hezbollah is being stretched thin and fighting multiple fronts in Syria and Netanyahu is in the middle of a ferocious election campaign - one of the goals of the Quneitra and Shebaa operations is to reinforce what each side believes to be the rules of engagement.

With Hezbollah’s expanded role in Syria, Israel is gradually ignoring the 2006 rules of engagement and adjusting itself to a new threat.


In choosing to strike in Shebaa farms which Lebanon claims as a disputed territory under the control of Israel, Hezbollah wanted to confine the battle with the Israeli army in the Lebanese domain. This gives it the ability to justify it legally as the government of Lebanon recognizes the right of Hezbollah’s “resistance” in those territories. Hezbollah’s other option was to strike from Syria where it reportedly has more than 5,000 fighters expanding foothold and presence and gaining combat skills. But responding in the Golan Heights would risk inviting Israeli action against the Assad regime in a way that could threaten its survival and strengthen the rebels that Hezbollah has been fighting since April, 2013.

The Shebaa attack allowed Hezbollah to show some muscle internally, and display its skill in using the Kornet-4 anti-tank missiles and surprise Israel who had been in a state of alert since the Quneitra attack.

In Quneitra, Israel wanted to tell both Hezbollah and Iran that operating on the Syrian front is a redline. By responding through Lebanon, Hezbollah tacitly acknowledged that redline but went further in setting up one of its own. The equation of deterrence that the 2006 war enforced between Hezbollah and Israel is quickly being replaced by readiness of both sides to strike outside of the traditional scope yet without risking escalation into full war.

New rules of engagement

With Hezbollah’s expanded role in Syria, Israel is gradually ignoring the 2006 rules of engagement and adjusting itself to a new threat. Since 2013, Israel has twice struck arms deliveries for Hezbollah on the Lebanese-Syrian border and in a louder statement hit Hezbollah and Iranian personnel who were present in Quneitra on January 18. While Israel welcomes the fact that Hezbollah is bleeding men power and resources in Syria, a strengthened regional hand for the party outside Lebanon appears to be worrying the Israelis.

Benefitting from the help of Iran and a weakened central state in Damascus, Hezbollah’s stature and reach is on the rise in Syria. On the one hand, this limits the party from engaging in a full blown war inside Lebanon, but on the other it poses new fronts and risks for Israel in its areas of operation. The new Israeli rules of engagement are centered around Hezbollah’s and Iran’s role in Syria. This makes strikes against convoys or armed shipments more likely in the future, while measured retaliation is expected.

Regarding Hezbollah, the party has grown more confident and has grander regional aspirations following its combat successes in Syria. While Hezbollah wants to keep the public display of force against Israel limited to Lebanon, it will not relinquish the gains and strategic assets it acquired in Syria. This sense of confidence and ascendance to the regional stage is behind Nasrallah’s recent threat to Israel to think twice before striking inside Syria.

Between Quneitra and Shebaa, Israel and Hezbollah are redrawing their new rules of engagement. The 2006 era of mutual deterrence is being washed away by the new realities in Syria, a battle that Hezbollah is trying to own while Israel is increasingly marking its new redlines.

_________________

Joyce Karam is the Washington Correspondent for Al-Hayat Newspaper, an International Arabic Daily based in London. She has covered American politics extensively since 2004 with focus on U.S. policy towards the Middle East. Prior to that, she worked as a Journalist in Lebanon, covering the Post-war situation. Joyce holds a B.A. in Journalism and an M.A. in International Peace and Conflict Resolution. Twitter: @Joyce_Karam

Last Update: Thursday, 29 January 2015 KSA 14:19 - GMT 11:19

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/vie...d-Israel-Redefining-rules-of-engagement-.html
 

Redheart

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Israel said on Thursday it received a message from the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah that it was backing away from further violence, a day after the worst deadly clashes in years erupted along the border.
That's good news because innocent people caught in the cross-fire would have had to pay the ultimate price for the actions of terrorists [RE: Netanyahu and Hezbollah] . After murdering a Spanish peace keeper, I think to avoid pissing off their allies in the West, who don't want to see Iran dragged into this, a development that would further complicate matters, I think for the first time the Israeli government has made the right call. .
 
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