Israeli Phantom jets were operational over the Golan Heights for the first time since the end of the October War on Wednesday (3 April).
Israeli Phantom jets were operational over the Golan Heights for the first time since the end of the October War on Wednesday (3 April). The reappearance of the jets coincides with build-up of tension between Israeli and Syrian forces in the area. Artillery units have engaged in frequent exchanges of fire every day for the past three weeks.
On Tuesday, Syrian gunners again concentrated their fire at Israeli positions in the "bulge" which Israel first occupied during last year's war. Israeli forces in the area have been heavily reinforced recently in anticipation of a possible Syrian attack. Despite the heavy shelling, Israeli forces reported no casualties.
In Damasucs, a Syrian military spokesman said the shelling began when Israeli forces attempted to consolidate "their forward positions". The spokesman added, "our forces intercepted it immediately and artillery and other weapons were used in the fighting."
A suggestion that these clashes could lead to a full-scale war between Syria and Israel was made in the English-language newspaper "Morning Star", published in Beirut. Commenting on the fighting, the paper added, "now, there is a consensus of opinion that unless something is done quickly the Golan front will erupt into bloody war that might jeopardise not only the chances of disengagement between the Syrian and Israeli forces but the agreement already reached between Egypt and Israel."
At the end of the day's fighting. Syria claimed to have inflicted heavy losses on the Israelis. A military spokesman said Syrian troops had killed or wounded several Israeli soldiers, silenced seven gun batteries, and hit an anti-tank rocket base, and an ammunition dump.