Syria fires 3 rockets after Israel mobilizes troops

The Israeli military said three rockets were fired from Syria late Saturday. (Representative)


Rockets were fired from Syria late on Saturday after Israel began calling in police and army troops, killing three people including an Italian tourist, and were preceded by rockets from Lebanon.

Despite appeals for restraint, violence has escalated since Israeli police forcibly entered the Al-Aqsa mosque on Wednesday after they said Palestinians barricaded themselves inside.

Israel bombed both Gaza and Lebanon in response to rockets fired by Palestinian terrorists.

The Israeli military said three rockets were fired from Syria late Saturday.

The army said “one of the rockets penetrated Israeli territory and fell in open areas” in the southern Golan Heights which are occupied by Israel.

The unrest comes as the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan, Jewish Passover and Christian Easter.

It is the latest in an escalation of Israeli-Palestinian violence since the new government of veteran Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took power in December, which is a coalition with far-right and ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties.

An Israeli Arab rammed a car into pedestrians on a Tel Aviv beach on Friday evening, killing an Italian and injuring seven other tourists.

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni named the dead man as 36-year-old Alessandro Parini.

Police and emergency services said the car overturned before the driver was shot. Police identified the driver as a 45-year-old man from the Arab city of Kfar Qassem in central Israel.

“The terrorist has been killed,” a spokesman told AFP.

Three of the injured were still in hospital on Saturday as passers-by left flowers and lit candles at the scene.

Italian President Sergio Mattarella condemned the “despicable terrorist act” in a press release. Rome’s public prosecutor’s office has opened an investigation.

The Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, called the attack a “natural and legitimate response” to Israel’s “aggression” at the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

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

His office said that after the Tel Aviv attack, Netanyahu instructed the police to “mobilize all reserve border police units” and the military to “mobilize additional forces”.

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

The Defense Ministry confirmed late Saturday that it had mobilized troops to support police, and that it would tighten entry restrictions into Israel for Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza, in particular workers.

Earlier, an Israeli military checkpoint came under fire in a drive-by shooting in the northern West Bank city of Yabad on Friday-Saturday night, the army said.

The army said the soldiers retaliated and hit one of the occupants of the vehicle.

cross border attacks

Friday’s attacks followed pre-dawn airstrikes and artillery bombardments by Israel in response to rocket fire from the Gaza Strip and Lebanon.

It was the heaviest rocket fire from Lebanon since it fought a 34-day war with Iran-backed group Hezbollah in 2006, and the first time Israel has confirmed strikes on Lebanese territory since April 2022.

The army said “Israel struck targets in southern Lebanon, including terrorist infrastructure linked to the Hamas terrorist organization”.

In Gaza, the Israeli army said it targeted two tunnels and “two weapons manufacturing sites” in response to “Hamas’ security violations”.

It said the air defense had intercepted 25 rockets from Lebanon on Thursday, while five targeted Israeli territory.

Israel “will not allow the Hamas terrorist organization to operate from within Lebanon”, it said.

The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), which patrols the area along the border, urged restraint, noting: “Both sides have said they do not want war.”

On Friday evening, the army said it had shot down a drone that had entered Israeli airspace from Lebanon.

mosque raid

On Wednesday, Israeli riot police forcibly entered the prayer hall of the Al-Aqsa mosque, with the aim of dispersing “law-breaking youths and masked agitators” they said had barricaded themselves inside.

As Ramadan coincides with the Jewish Passover holiday this year, tensions have risen with thousands of Palestinians praying at Al-Aqsa during the Muslim fasting month.

Palestinians fear Netanyahu’s hard-right government may overturn long-standing rules that allow Jews to enter the mosque compound but not pray, despite their repeated denials.

The escalation of violence drew condemnation from the European Union and the United States.

A Qatari official said Doha was mediating between Israel and the Palestinians.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)