Middle East

Israeli army patrol 'hit by Syria gunfire'

Mortar shells set a field alight close to the Israeli-Syrian border (4 Nov 2012)
Image caption Mortar shells landed just beyond the Israeli border fence on Sunday

An Israeli border patrol vehicle has been hit by Syrian gunfire in the Golan Heights, the military says.

The incident comes two days after the army said three Syrian tanks had entered the demilitarised buffer zone in the area to tackle rebel fighters.

Although the vehicle was lightly damaged, no-one was hurt. Military sources say it was unlikely to have been the target of the gunfire.

The two countries are formally at war and a UN force patrols the buffer zone.

Israeli radio reports said that the vehicle hit by Syrian gunfire on Monday belonged to a Golani Brigade commander and that the bullets had emanated from around the Syrian village of Beer Ajam.

According to Israeli media reports, the tanks involved in Saturday's incursion had been fighting rebels in the same village.

Israel complained to the UN peacekeeping force and military chief of staff Benny Gantz visited the Golan, warning troops to be on high alert and to prevent the conflict in Syria from crossing the border.

A similar complaint to the UN was made in September, when Syrian mortar rounds landed in Israel.

Mortar shells landed close to the border fence on Sunday, setting a field alight.

More on this story