Sunday, February 18, 2018
News Roundup

Israel strikes Syria after teen is killed in Golan Heights

JERUSALEM — Israeli warplanes bombed a series of targets inside Syria early today, the Israeli military said, in response to a cross-border attack that killed an Israeli teenager the previous day.

In all, Israel said it struck nine military targets inside Syria, and "direct hits were confirmed." The targets were located near the site of Sunday's violence in the Golan Heights and included a regional military command center and unspecified "launching positions." There was no immediate response from Syria.

In Sunday's attack, an Israeli civilian vehicle was struck by forces in Syria as it drove in the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights. A teenage boy was killed and two other people were wounded in the first deadly incident along the volatile Israeli-Syrian front since Syria's civil war erupted more than three years ago. The Israeli vehicle was delivering water as it was doing contract work for Israel's Defense Ministry when it was struck.

"Yesterday's attack was an unprovoked act of aggression against Israel, and a direct continuation to recent attacks that occurred in the area," said Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, a military spokesman.

It was not clear whether Syrian troops or one of the many rebel groups battling the government carried out the attack.

Israeli police identified the boy as Mohammed Karaka, 14, of the Arab village of Arraba in northern Israel. Local media said he had accompanied his father, the truck driver, to work.

Late Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he spoke to the boy's father and sent his condolences.

The sudden burst of violence has added to the tense situation in Israel, where forces have spent the past week and a half in a broad ground operation in the West Bank in search of three teenage boys believed to have been abducted by Hamas militants.

Israel has carefully monitored the fighting in Syria, but has generally kept its distance and avoided taking sides.

Israel captured the Golan Heights, a strategic plateau overlooking northern Israel, from Syria in the 1967 Mideast War. Israel's annexation of the area has never been recognized internationally.

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Published: 02/17/18