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Israeli, Syrian forces trade fire


13:54, April 03, 2013

JERUSALEM, April 2 (Xinhua) -- Israeli tanks fired at targets in Syria on Tuesday evening in response to Syrian attacks, Israeli media reported.

A Syrian artillery shell exploded near Tel Fares in the Golan Heights on Tuesday evening. Less than an hour later, an Israeli patrol at Tel Hazaka was hit by light arms.

There were no reports of injuries or damage on the Israeli side in both incidents.

"In response to the shots fired... Israeli forces returned precise fire and reported a direct hit," Israeli army said in a statement, stopping short of giving details on the Syrian target.

The statement said that Israel Defense Forces viewed the latest incidents "with concern," and has notified the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force observers stationed in the area.

It was not immediately clear who fired the shell that landed in Tel Fares, an area seized by Israel in the 1967 Six Days War.

The cross-border exchange of fire came hours after newly appointed Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon toured the region and vowed that Israel would decisively respond to firing from Syria, as well as attempts to transfer arms to Hezbollah.

Israel will not intervene in Syria's internal conflict, as long as the violence does not "spill across the border" and harm Israeli interests, Ya'alon told reporters.

"When it harms our interests, whether by deliberate or unintentional firing of Grad rockets from across the border, we would respond in order to silence the sources of fire. Our other major interest, of course, is that no arms reach irresponsible hands in a way that would threaten us," Ya'alon added.

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