Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Support us today
Not now
Thursday 21 September 2023 Dublin: 12°C
Alamy Stock Photo File photo of fences on the ceasefire line between Israel and Syria in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.
# tensions
Israel launches retaliatory strikes on Syria after rockets fired towards Golan Heights
It comes after days of escalating violence over tension in Jerusalem and an Israeli police raid on the city’s Al-Aqsa Mosque.

ISRAEL LAUNCHED ARTILLERY strikes on Syria this morning after several rockets were fired from there and landed in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

Israel’s retaliatory strike to rocket attacks from Syria – which no one has claimed – is the latest episode in escalating violence in the region.

“In response to the rockets fired from Syria at Israel earlier today, IDF Artillery is currently striking in Syrian territory,” the military tweeted.

A drone was also “currently striking the launchers in Syria from which rockets were launched into Israeli territory”.

Six rockets were launched towards Israel on Saturday night, with two landing in the Golan Heights, the army said. At least one was intercepted by the Israeli air-defence system.

The 1,200 square kilometre region – patrolled by Israeli soldiers and bordering Lebanon – was seized from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War. Israel later annexed it in a move that was never recognised by the international community.

Syrian state news agency SANA said the Israeli strikes took place around 5am (3am Irish time).

Citing an unnamed military source, SANA said Syria’s military had “intercepted the rockets… and brought down some of them”.

The surge in violence and unrest comes as the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, Jewish Passover, and Christian Easter coincide.

On Wednesday, Israeli police stormed the prayer hall of Al-Aqsa mosque, Islam’s third-holiest site, in a pre-dawn raid aimed at dislodging “law-breaking youths masked agitators” they said had barricaded themselves inside.

The next day, more than 30 rockets were fired from Lebanese soil into Israel, which the Israeli army blamed on Palestinian groups, saying it was most likely Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip.

Israel then bombarded Gaza and southern Lebanon, targeting “terror infrastructures” that it said belonged to Hamas.

It was the biggest salvo fired from Lebanon since Israel fought a devastating 34-day war with Iran-backed militant group Hezbollah in 2006 and the first time Israel has confirmed an attack on Lebanese territory since April 2022.

Israel and Lebanon are technically in a state of war, and the ceasefire line is patrolled by the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), deployed in the country’s south.

On the Syrian side, Israel has recently intensified its raids targeting positions of pro-Iranian groups.


On Friday evening, an Italian tourist was killed and seven other people injured in a suspected car-ramming attack on pedestrians on the Tel Aviv seafront.

In response, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed the police to “mobilise all reserve border police units”.

He also directed the army to “mobilise additional forces”, his office said.

Earlier Friday, two British-Israeli sisters aged 16 and 20 were killed and their mother seriously wounded when their car was fired on in the Jordan Valley in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Police said four reserve battalions of border police would be deployed in city centres from Sunday.

The defence ministry confirmed late Saturday it had mobilised soldiers to support the police, and that it would tighten entry restrictions into Israel for Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza, in particular workers.

High tensions

The current fever pitch follows violence on Wednesday, when Israeli riot police stormed the prayer hall of Al-Aqsa mosque in a pre-dawn raid.

Ramadan coincided with the Jewish Passover holiday this year, raising tensions with the tens of thousands of Palestinians who pray at Al-Aqsa during the Muslim fasting month.

The Palestinians fear Netanyahu’s hard-right government may change longstanding rules that allow Jews to visit but not pray in the mosque compound, despite his repeated denials.

Since the beginning of January, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has claimed the lives of at least 92 Palestinians, 18 Israelis, one Ukrainian and one Italian, according to an AFP count based on Israeli and Palestinian official sources.

These figures include, on the Palestinian side, combatants and civilians, including minors, and on the Israeli side, mostly civilians, including minors, and three members of the Arab minority.

© AFP 2023

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel