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Israel Bombs Syrian Targets As Projectiles Fall On Golan Heights

Israeli soldiers take part in a military training in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights, near the Israel-Syria border, March 20, 2017

Israeli warplanes hit targets in Syria in response to 10 projectiles falling on its territory, Israeli military announced. Two Syrian tanks were destroyed in Quneitra, on the Golan Heights, according Syrian government media.

The flare-up marked a rare case of Israeli involvement in the bloody fighting next door. Israel has stayed on the sidelines of Syria's civil war, now in its seventh year, refraining from taking sides or getting drawn into hostilities.

It has responded in the past with limited strikes when fire has spilled into Israel and holds the Syrian government responsible for any such incidents. It has also reportedly hit advanced weapons shipments from Syria to Hezbollah militants in Lebanon on multiple occasions.

Israel also took diplomatic action in response to its territory being hit. "Because of the unacceptable violation of Israeli sovereignty", Israel has protested to the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) which monitors a 1974 ceasefire between the two countries, he added.

On Saturday, the Israeli military said fighting between Syrian troops and rebels had spilled over, with projectiles landing on the Israeli side of the frontier.

It said no injuries or damage was caused but with Israelis flocking to the Golan Heights in the summer for hikes and fruit picking, the military took the precautionary step of asking civilians to avoid gathering near the border. Later, it announced that it had targeted the source of the fire and hit two tanks belonging to the Syrian military.

Israel seized 1,200 square kilometers (460 square miles) of the Golan from Syria in the Six-Day War of 1967 and later annexed it in a move never recognized by the international community.

Reporting based on AP, AFP