Israel’s Iron Dome Shoots Down Rockets Along Syrian Border

A recently located Iron Dome battary can be seen near the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon outside the Gaza Strip June 7, 2015. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

Israel’s Iron Dome rocket defense system on Saturday shot down two stray “projectiles” fired during fighting in Syria’s civil war, Israel’s military said, Reuters reported.

There has been frequent spillover of fighting between the factions in Syria into the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights, but this was the first time Iron Dome was activated to intercept the errant fire.

Israel’s Iron Dome aerial defense system destroyed two rockets fired from Syria above the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, the Israeli army said in a statement, with no injuries reported.

It was the first successful interception by the Iron Dome of rocket fire along the Syrian border, according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

“An additional projectile fired from Syria was intercepted by the Iron Dome aerial defense system. No injuries reported,” the military said in a statement, shortly after the system had first activated.

Israel usually retaliates with air strikes against battle stations in Syria.

The military has stationed Iron Dome batteries in areas that have been targeted by cross-border fire, which is most frequently from Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip. The system usually only fires an interceptor if the enemy rocket is calculated to strike near a populated area.

The rockets were reportedly errant fire from Syrian rebel forces fighting the Syrian regime in the country’s ongoing civil war. While the projectiles were initially reported to have been bound for the Golan Heights, the Israeli army said later that the rockets would have exploded on Syrian territory if not intercepted, according to Haaretz.
It was the third incident of rocket fire spilling over the Syrian border this week.

On Monday and Tuesday, errant mortar fire fell into the Israeli-occupied territory, which the Israeli air force responded to by shelling artillery targets inside Syria. The Syrian regime then launched two missiles at Israeli aircraft, with Israel denying Syrian claims that the hits had been successful.
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 occasional armed responses.

Israel has largely stayed on the sidelines of Syria’s civil war, keeping watch over the Golan frontier and occasionally carrying out air strikes or returning mortar fire if there is a specific threat.

Israel captured the Golan Heights, a strategic plateau, in a 1967 Middle East war.