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Israeli tank fires warning shot at Syrian Golan post: Army

AFP , Saturday 18 Nov 2017
A general view shows a border fence between the Israeli-occupied side of the Golan Heights and Syria, November 4, 2017 (Photo: Reuters)

An Israeli tank fired a warning shot on Saturday at a Syrian military position in the demilitarised zone in the northern Golan Heights following construction work there, the army said.

A spokeswoman for the Israeli army told AFP that the Syrian army work "violated the 1974 ceasefire agreement" which "prohibits the entry of heavy construction tools or military vehicles into the demilitarised zone".

"In response, the IDF complained to UNDOF (the UN Disengagement Observer Force) and fired a warning shot towards the area using a tank," the spokeswoman said.

She would not confirm reports that the incident took place near the Syrian government-controlled Druze village of Hader, which was targeted by rebel forces two weeks ago.

The attack on Hader, which began with a suicide bomber blowing up a car and killing nine people, raised concern among Golan Druze for the fate of their co-religionists at the hands of Sunni extremists of the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham group.

The incident had prompted the Israeli army to issue a rare statement pledging to "prevent Hader from being harmed or occupied".

On Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signalled that Israel would take military action in Syria when it sees fit as it seeks to ensure Iran-backed forces stay away from its territory.

"I have made it clear to our friends, first of all in Washington and also to our friends in Moscow, that Israel will act in Syria -- including in southern Syria -- according to our understanding and according to our security needs," he said.

Israel occupied 1,200 square kilometres (460 square miles) of the Golan Heights from Syria in the Six-Day War of 1967 and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the international community.

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