Israeli military hits Gaza, Golan Heights

The Israeli army said it killed four men in the Israeli-occupied region of the Golan Heights who were caught planting explosives by a security fence.

Monday 03/08/2020
An Israeli military armoured personnel carrier (APC) manoeuvres near a sign in the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights near the Israel-Syria frontier August 3, 2020. (Reuters)
An Israeli military armoured personnel carrier (APC) manoeuvres near a sign in the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights near the Israel-Syria frontier August 3, 2020. (Reuters)

DAMASCUS - The Israeli military said it carried out a series of attacks in the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights Sunday after facing rocket fire from Hamas and a bomb plot near the Syrian border.

The Israeli army said it killed four men in the Israeli-occupied region of the Golan Heights who were caught planting explosives by a security fence.

“We spotted irregular night-time activity in this specific location for the past week and we had a commando unit deployed in the area,” said military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus, adding that it was unclear whether the planned attack was linked to Hezbollah or Iran.

“We do not know at this stage and we cannot confirm a link between this terrorist squad and Hezbollah or Iranians. We know that there are many different factions operating on Syrian soil,” he said.

The Syrian Observatory said the attackers were likely part of the Syrian Resistance to Liberate the Golan — a Hezbollah-linked group formed more than six years ago to launch attacks against Israel in the disputed area.

Israeli civilians cannot access the border area where the munitions were planted, meaning the attack was directed at the country’s armed forces, Haaretz reported.

On the same day, Israeli fighter jets hit numerous Hamas sites in the Gaza Strip, in retaliation for a projectile launched from the occupied territory towards Israel.

The Israeli army said “our fighter jets and & aircraft just struck subterranean Hamas terror facilities in Gaza” in response to the projectile attack, which was downed by Israel’s Iron Dome defence system without causing any damage or casualties.

The recent flare-ups come as tension rises between Israel and neighbouring Lebanon along the border region, where Tel Aviv has ramped up its military presence and been on high alert.

Tensions grew last week along the UN-demarcated Blue Line after months of relative calm when Israel said it thwarted an infiltration attempt by up to five Hezbollah gunmen, a claim denied by the Iran-backed group.

Israel reported an exchange of fire that forced the Hezbollah militants back into Lebanon and said it fired artillery across the heavily guarded border for “defensive” purposes.

However, Israeli soldiers were reportedly given strict “do not kill” instructions to avoid escalation, as both sides remain wary of another costly conflict while dealing with the pandemic crisis.

The last major conflict between Israel and Hezbollah broke out in 2006, when a month of fighting left more than 1,200 Lebanese dead, mostly civilians, and killed 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers.