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Israeli Troops Capture Infiltrator from Syria

  • Larry James

Israeli officials say their troops have captured a Palestinian gunman who infiltrated the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights from Syria and opened fire on an Israeli military outpost.

According to Israeli officials the 21-year-old man penetrated a border fence near the farming community of Hazaka in the central Golan Heights. They say he was armed with a hunting rifle and fired nine shots at an Israeli army post before being captured. There were no reports of injuries in the incident. Israeli officials say the man told interrogators he had planned to abduct an Israeli soldier and take him back to Syria.

Ron Prosor, director general of the Israeli Foreign Ministry says defense officials are investigating the incident.

"He entered from the Golan," he explained. "He's from the refugee camp Yarmouk but from my point of view the interesting part is his ability to infiltrate and enter through the northern border. I want to remind you that this border was a quiet border since 1974 and I hope that this is not a change in policy by certain people."

News agencies say Israeli military officials have identified the man as a militant from Fatah, the main Palestinian political faction.

Israel captured the Golan Heights in the 1967 Middle East War and annexed it. Talks between Israel and Syria on a possible return of the land broke down five years ago.

Israel has welcomed international diplomatic pressure on the Syrian government to get its troops out of neighboring Lebanon and Israeli officials say pressure should be increased on Damascus to halt, what they say is its support for terrorism.

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