UN peacekeepers injured in mortar fire on Golan Heights

Israeli army describes rounds, which lightly wounded two UN soldiers, as stray fire from ongoing conflict in Syria.

    UN peacekeepers injured in mortar fire on Golan Heights
    Israel seized 1,200 square km ( of the Golan Heights in the Six-Day War of 1967 and later annexed it [AP]

    Two UN peacekeepers have been wounded when mortar rounds fired from Syria hit their base in the Israeli-held sector of the Golan Heights, according to the Israeli army spokesperson.

    Israel public radio said the two were lightly wounded in Monday's incident.

    "Mortar shells hit the Golan in Ein Zivan and in the Zivanit UNDOF base. Two UN peacekeeping soldiers were evacuated to Israel for medical care," Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Lerner wrote on his official Twitter account.

    The army said the rounds were not deliberately aimed at the Israeli side of the plateau, but was stray fire from the ongoing conflict in Syria.

    Since the Syrian conflict erupted in 2011, the plateau has been tense, with a growing number of rockets and mortar rounds hitting the Israeli side, mostly stray, prompting the occasional armed response.

    In January, a Spanish UN peacekeeper was killed on the Israel-Lebanon border during an exchange of fire between Israeli troops and Hezbollah fighters.

    Rami Abdul Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told AFP news agency that fighting had been taking place since last week between armed groups in an area close to the ceasefire line.

    "There is still infighting going on among rebel groups in Qahtaniya, near the ceasefire line with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. They're exchanging shellfire," he said.

    Israel seized 1,200sq km of the Golan Heights in the Six-Day War of 1967 and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the international community.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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