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Israel accuses Syria of violating ceasefire, fires warning shot at army position

An Israeli tank takes part in a military exercise in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights near the border with Syria
Menahem Kahana (AFP/File)
Local media reported the incident occurred near the Druze village of Hader

An Israeli tank fired a warning shot at a Syrian army position on the Golan Heights on Saturday, claiming that Syria was carrying out construction work on a military installation in violation of the decades-long ceasefire agreement between the two countries.

"The agreement prohibits the entry of heavy construction tools or military vehicles into the demilitarized zone," an army spokeswoman said. "In response the [Israel Defense Forces] complained to the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force and fired a warning shot towards the area using a tank."

Israel and Syria signed a ceasefire agreement in 1974 after the end of the Yom Kippur War, which is monitored by a multinational UN force that oversee a "buffer zone" between the two territories.

The army said the Syrian post was in the northern part of the zone. Israeli media reported it was near the Druze village of Hader, which lies just inside Syrian-held territory.

The village has come under attack from jihadist forces in the area, and earlier this month Israel offered a rare pledge of support for its inhabitants.

"The IDF is prepared and ready to help the villagers and prevent damage or occupation of the village of Hadar out of a commitment to the Druze population," a November 3 statement said.

There has been a noticeable uptick in military incidents on the Golan Heights in recent weeks, including Israel shooting down a Syrian army drone and several stray mortar rounds landing on Israeli-held territory.

UNDOF has been contacted for comment.

Israel has long professed a policy of not intervening militarily in the Syrian civil war, while carrying out strikes on weaponry that could threaten it and treating people wounded in the fighting.

Israel seized 1,200 square kilometers (460 square miles) of the Golan Heights from Syria in the Six-Day War of 1967 and later annexed it, a move never recognized by the international community.

AFP contributed to this report.

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