Israel concerned about nearby al-Qaida presence

Dec. 8, 2013 at 9:19 AM   |   0 comments

HAIFA, Israel, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- Israeli military officials are concerned about the increase of al-Qaida affiliated militants in Syria operating near Israel's border, officials said.

The assessments come in the wake of Friday's bomb attack in which a remote-controlled device planted on the Syrian side of the border was detonated near an Israeli military jeep. While no one was injured in the attack, Israeli military officials look askance at the presence of thousands of jihadist fighters affiliated with al-Qaida operating near Israel's border, the Hebrew language daily Yedioth Ahronoth reported Sunday.

"We don't know who is responsible for the attack, but I advise all those on the other side of the border not to put us to a red line test, we will defend our interests," the newspaper quoted Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon as saying Saturday.

Since the outbreak of civil strife in Syria in March 2011, the Israeli army has strengthened the security fence along the border with Syria, enhancing it with advanced technology to prevent infiltrations into Israel. In addition the army maintains a constant presence of soldiers and also employs large bulldozers near the border fence, the newspaper said.

There have been a number of incidents in which stray mortar fire and light weapons fire from Syria has spilled into Israeli areas.

Last Monday, a Syrian sniper near Quneitra fired at Israeli soldiers, who returned fire, and the same day a mortar shell fired from Syria exploded in the Israeli Druse village of Majdal Shams. No injuries were reported.

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