Photo Credit: FLash 90
IDF infantry soldiers training on the Golan Heights. (file)

The IDF attacked the source of mortar fire on Israel Wednesday afternoon and injured Syrian soldiers after two shells exploded in the Golan Heights and lightly wounded two Israeli soldiers.

The retaliatory attack knocked out the mortar launcher on the Syrian side of the Golan, and military spokesmen that an unknown number of Syrian fighters apparently soldiers of the Assad regime, were injured.

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It was the first time Israeli soldiers were wounded from fire on the Syrian side during the civil war, and it was at least the second time the IDF retaliated. Two months ago, the Israeli army fired a missile on Syrian territory after artillery fire on the Israeli side of the Golan.

One of the Israeli soldiers suffered shrapnel wounds and the other was treated for shock. Both were evacuated to the hospital in Tzfat (Safed).

It is not yet known whether the fire from the Syrian side was errant or intentional, but preliminary estimates were that the soldiers were hit by stray mortar shells.

It was only a matter of time until there were injuries to Israeli soldiers. Residents of the Golan and soldiers posted near the border have become accustomed to mortars shells and occasional machine gun fire the past several months as the civil war continues to rage on the other side of the border.

Heavy fighting was reported on Wednesday between Syrian rebels and soldiers loyal to the Assad regime.

Syria and Israel have maintained a ceasefire since 1974, one year after the Yom Kippur War. It has held despite a cold war between Israel and the Assad regime, but the civil war has raised the threat that either side might jump at an opportunity to try to draw Israel into the conflict.

U.N. troops posted in the demilitarized zone were forced to evacuate the area several times this year because of battles, and in at least two instances, U.N. soldiers were kidnapped or detained.

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