Israeli warplanes bombed a series of targets inside Syria early Monday, the Israeli military said, in response to a cross-border attack that killed an Israeli teenager the previous day.
Israel said it struck nine military targets inside Syria, killing at least 10 Syrian troops and destroying an army command center, an activist group said Monday.
"At least 10 members of the Syrian army were killed," said Rami Abdurrahman from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group that collects information from activists on the ground in Syria.
Israeli strikes destroyed two tanks, two artillery batteries and the headquarters of Syria's 90th brigade, the Observatory said. An Israeli military officer told local news website Haaretz that strikes were carried out using both Tamuz guided missiles and Israeli air force jets.
There was no immediate response from Syria.
In Sunday's attack, an Israeli vehicle was struck by forces in Syria with an anti-tank missile as it drove in the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights. Military sources said the vehicle belonged to the defense ministry and was being used "as part of construction work on the border."
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.
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.
"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, an Israeli military spokesman. He said the military "will not tolerate any attempt to breach Israel's sovereignty and will act in order to safeguard the civilians of the state of Israel."
The sudden burst of violence has added to the tense situation in Israel, where forces have spent the past week and 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. On several occasions, mortar shells and other types of fire have landed on the Israeli side of the de facto border, drawing limited Israeli reprisals. Israel is also believed to have carried out several air strikes on arms shipments it believed to be headed from Syria to Hezbollah militants in neighboring Lebanon.
It was not immediately clear whether Syrian troops or one of the many rebel groups battling the government carried out Sunday's deadly attack in the Golan. But Lerner said it was clear that the attack was intentional. Israel has repeatedly said it holds the Syrian government responsible for any attacks originating from its territory, regardless of who actually carries them out.
Israel captured the Golan Heights, a strategic plateau overlooking northern Israel, from Syria in the 1967 war. Israel's annexation of the area has never been recognized internationally.
The incident occurred in the area of Tel Hazeka, near the Quneitra crossing. The U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Syrian troops had shelled nearby targets on the Syrian border earlier in the day.
Late Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he spoke to the boy's father and sent his condolences. "Our enemies don't differentiate between Jews and non-Jews, adults and children," he told an international gathering of Jewish journalists.
The Associated Press
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