Shots fired along Israeli-Syrian security separation area, 4 reportedly killed

11:06, May 16, 2011      

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Four people were reportedly killed and dozens were wounded Sunday afternoon when Israel Defense Forces (IDF) troops opened fire on hundreds of demonstrators attempting to infiltrate the security fence between Israel and Syria in Golan Heights, local media reported.

Arab media reported that four were killed among the demonstrators, who approached the border fence as part of events commemorating Nakba Day, an annual commemoration of the disaster Palestinians suffered during the Arab-Israeli war in 1948.

An IDF spokeswoman would not comment on the number of people who were killed or casualties incurred.

"A short while ago, an IDF force identified Syrian civilians attempting to damage the border fence in the northern Golan Heights," the spokeswoman told Xinhua, adding that "the troops fired shots in the air to deter the demonstrators."

"The IDF warns that any attempt to harm human lives or property will be met with a proper response," she said.

Israeli TV live pictures show that a large number of people are holding demonstration along the security fence between the Israeli and Syrian controlled areas, holding Palestinian flags and throwing stones. Israeli troops are deployed along the fence.

Israel's Magen David Adom (MDA) emergency medical services confirmed that its paramedics treated wounded in the incident. MDA director Eli Bin told Israeli Channel 10 TV that his crew members are deployed in the area and are prepared to treat more wounded if the need arises.

Local media reports some 500 Syrian protesters managed to cross the security fence and enter the nearby Druze village of Majdal Shams, which is located in the area controlled by Israel.

An official with the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), which serves as a liaison between the IDF and Syrian authorities and monitors the border area, told Xinhua that most details of the incident are yet unclear.

"At this point we are trying to gather information on the incident," the official said.

IDF forces are deployed along the security area in ongoing efforts to disperse the protesters and prevent them from crossing the fence, and police forces are being dispatched to the area.

Israel captured the Golan Heights, the dominating plateau, from Syria in the 1967 war. The United Nations set up the UNDOF forces in 1974 and established the security zone to separate the areas controlled by Israel and Syria, prohibiting each side from deploying military forces in the zone.

Source: Xinhua
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