Israel strikes Syria in response to rocket attacks

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TEL AVIV: Israel carried out artillery strikes in southern Syria, in response to six rockets that were launched from its Islamic neighbour, The Times of Israel reported citing Israel Defence Force.

The IDF did not immediately provide further details on the strikes.

Earlier, 3 more rockets were launched from southern Syria at Israeli towns in the Golan Heights, the Israel Defense Forces said. This came hours after another three rockets were launched from Syria at the Golan, reported The Times of Israel.

On Saturday night, the focus shifted to Jerusalem’s Old City as security forces fear that further unrest could break out on Sunday when Jewish worshipers are expected to flock to the Western Wall for the priestly blessings that take place on Passover, reported Jerusalem Post.

Jewish visitors are also expected to ascend the Temple Mount, known to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif. An additional 2,300 police troops have been deployed throughout the city.

“Israel is taking every measure to ensure that Muslims, Jews and Christians can celebrate Ramadan, Passover and Easter peacefully,” the Foreign Ministry said.

Despite appeals for restraint, violence has surged since Israeli police stormed the Al-Aqsa mosque on Wednesday after they said Palestinians barricaded themselves inside. Israel bombarded both Gaza and Lebanon in response to rocket fire by Palestinian militants.

The unrest comes as the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramzan, Jewish Passover, and Christian Easter coincide.
By Saturday night, it appeared as if an uneasy calm had been restored, with security forces still braced not just for violence along those borders as well as increased Israeli-Palestinian violence, reported Jerusalem Post.

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant briefed US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on the security situation on Saturday night, detailing efforts to “thwart terrorism and respond effectively to any threat toward Israeli citizens and troops,” his office said.

“Gallant also raised the defence establishment’s efforts to enable freedom of prayer at the Temple Mount, which is hijacked by groups of extreme rioters,” his office added

President Isaac Herzog said Israel was “firmly committed to preserving the status quo at the holy sites in general and on the Temple Mount in particular” in a telephonic conversation he had with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Netanyahu said last week claimed Iran is behind the latest spiral in violence in Israel, a point Herzog underscored in his conversation with Erdogan.

“Iran, by means of its proxies, including Hamas, is leading a campaign on several fronts with the aim of undermining regional stability and is using terrorism based on religious incitement, focusing on the situation in Jerusalem,” Herzog said.

Meanwhile, Lebanon’s Prime Minister Najib Mikati issued a statement condemning any military operations from its territory that threatened stability but there was no immediate comment from Hezbollah, reported Jerusalem Post. (ANI)

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