Six missiles fired within hours toward Israel in rare attack from Syria


The Israeli military said three more rockets were launched from Syria toward Israel early on Sunday, raising to six the number of missiles fired within hours in a rare attack from Israel’s north-eastern neighbour.

Israel’s army said it was retaliating with artillery strikes on the area in Syria from where the rockets were fired at Israel.

The rocket firings come after days of escalating violence on multiple fronts over tension in Jerusalem and an Israeli police raid on the city’s most sensitive holy site.

People lay flowers and candles next to photos showing Alessandro Parini, an Italian tourist who was killed in a Palestinian attack, in Tel Aviv on Saturday
People lay flowers and candles next to photos showing Alessandro Parini, an Italian tourist who was killed in a Palestinian attack, in Tel Aviv on Saturday (Oded Balilty/AP)

In the first attack, one rocket landed in a field in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights.

Fragments of another destroyed missile fell into Jordanian territory near the Syrian border, Jordan’s military reported.

There were no reports of casualties.

Tel Aviv attack
Israeli police stand at the scene of an attack in Tel Aviv on Friday (AP)

The report quoted Al-Quds Brigade, a militia different than the larger Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s armed wing with a similar name, as saying it fired the rockets to retaliate for the police raid on Al-Aqsa Mosque.

In Syria, an adviser to President Bashar Assad described the rocket strikes as “part of the previous, present and continuing response to the brutal enemy”.

In the occupied West Bank, Israeli security forces fatally shot a 20-year-old Palestinian in the town of Azzun, Palestinian health officials said, stirring protests in the area.

The Israeli military said troops fired at Palestinians hurling stones and explosive devices. The Palestinian Health Ministry identified the Palestinian killed as Ayed Salim.

Israel Palestinians Italy
People gather and lay flowers at the site where Alessandro Parini, an Italian tourist, was killed in a Palestinian attack, in Tel Aviv (AP)

Over 90 Palestinians and have been killed by Israeli fire so far this year, at least half of them affiliated with militant groups, according to a tally by The Associated Press.

Palestinian attacks on Israelis have killed 19 people in that time — including on Friday when two British-Israeli women were shot to death near a settlement in the Jordan Valley and an Italian tourist was killed by a suspected car-ramming in Tel Aviv. All but one of the 19 killed were civilians.

The rocket fire from Syria comes against the backdrop of soaring Israeli-Palestinian tensions touched off by an Israeli police raid on Jerusalem’s most sensitive site, the sacred compound home to the Al-Aqsa mosque.

That outraged Palestinians marking the holy fasting month of Ramadan and prompted militants in Lebanon — as well as Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip — to fire a heavy barrage of rockets into Israel.

Israel Palestinians Ramadan
Two Israeli border police officers are deployed to keep the order while Palestinians cross from the West Bank into Jerusalem (AP)

Late on Saturday, tensions ran high in Jerusalem as a few hundred Palestinian worshippers barricaded themselves in the mosque, which sits on a hilltop in the heart of Jerusalem’s Old City sacred to both Muslims and Jews.

Israeli police efforts to evict the worshippers locked in the mosque overnight with stockpiled firecrackers and stones spiralled into unrest in the holy site earlier this week.

The latest escalations prompted Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant to extend a closure barring entrance to Israel for Palestinians from the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip for the duration of the Jewish holiday of Passover, while police beefed up forces in Jerusalem on the eve of sensitive religious celebrations.

Israel Palestinians Ramadan
Palestinians cross from the West Bank into Jerusalem, for the third Friday’s Ramadan prayers at the Al Aqsa mosque compound (AP)

Israeli security forces have targeted and killed several of the group’s key members in recent months.

The accused man’s killing could not be immediately confirmed, but videos in Palestinian media showed medics and residents gathered around his bloodied body in the Old City, where the Lion’s Den holds sway.

“Traitors have neither a country nor a people,” Lion’s Den commander Oday Azizi said in a statement.

The moves come at a time of heightened religious fervour – with Ramadan coinciding with Passover and Easter celebrations.

Jerusalem’s Old City, home to key Jewish, Muslim and Christian holy sites, has been teeming with visitors and religious pilgrims from around the world.

Damage from air strikes
Palestinians inspect damage from overnight Israeli air strikes in Gaza City on Friday (AP)

The order prevents Palestinians from entering Israel for work or to pray in Jerusalem this week, though mass prayers were permitted at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Friday.

Mr Gallant also ordered the Israeli military to be prepared to assist Israeli police. The army later announced that it was deploying additional troops around Jerusalem and in the West Bank.

Israeli police and emergency services work around a car involved in an attack in Tel Aviv, Israel, Friday, April 7, 2023
Israeli police and emergency services work around a car involved in an attack in Tel Aviv on Friday night which killed at Italian tourist (Ariel Schalit/AP)

The Western Wall is the holiest site where Jews can pray and sits next to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, where large crowds gather each day for prayers during Ramadan.

The current round of violence erupted earlier in the week after Israeli police raided the mosque, firing tear gas and stun grenades to disperse hundreds of Palestinians who had barricaded themselves inside. Violent scenes from the raid sparked unrest in the contested capital and outrage across the Arab world.


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