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Israel military to deploy regional unit on Syrian border


08:43, July 11, 2013

JERUSALEM, July 10 (Xinhua) -- Israel's military will deploy a new regional unit along the Syrian border to protect the country from a possible spillover from the ongoing fighting in neighboring Syria, an army source said Wednesday.

This will be the Israeli Defense Forces' (IDF) fifth regional division to be deployed in the Golan Heights, the same source told Xinhua anonymously.

The IDF currently deploys regional divisions across its northwestern border with Lebanon, across the Gaza Strip and the West Bank and also in south of Israel in the Negev and Arava Desert.

The decision on the new unit was finalized by the IDF's Chief of Staff Benny Gantz earlier this week, the Ha'aretz daily reported.

The Israeli army has authorized the move as there have recently been several barrages of misguided artillery, as well as several mortars fired intentionally by small militant groups in Syria, making its way into northern Israel, where an influx of wounded Syrians have been transferred into the IDF's hospital, according to local media.

In response to the clashes in Syria, a force of 170 Australian UN observers stationed in the Israeli-Syrian border left the area last month.

Israel is worried that Lebanon's Hezbollah militants may clash with its soldiers as many of the Shiite movement fighters have been combatting alongside Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's military in Syria.

Israel and Lebanon had their last armed conflict in 2006 war.

On Tuesday, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon denied his country's involvement in recent explosion in a Hezbollah stronghold in Beirut, adding that Israel "doesn't interfere in the battles between Shiites and Sunnis."

Referring to accusations that Israel attacked ammunition depots in Syria last Friday, Ya'alon said "Every time there is an attack or an explosion there, we are mostly always accused."

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