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Israel Fires Warning Shots Into Syria; Vows Action Against Gaza Rocket Fire

For the first time since the Yom Kippur War in 1973, Israel fired warning shots into Syria on Sunday – just days after a Syrian mortar shell hit a target inside the Israel-occupied Golan Heights.

Here's more from the Israel Defense Forces:

"A short while ago, a mortar shell hit an IDF post in the Golan Heights adjacent to the Israel-Syria border, as part of the internal conflict inside Syria. No damage or injuries have been reported.

In response, IDF soldiers fired warning shots towards Syrian areas.

The IDF has filed a complaint through the UN forces operating in the area, stating that fire emanating from Syria into Israel will not be tolerated and shall be responded to with severity."

NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports from Jerusalem that no casualties were reported. Anthony adds that last week, three Syrian army tanks crossed into the demilitarized zone on the Golan Heights in pursuit of rebel forces.

Here's what he told our Newscast Unit:

"Israel also filed a complaint with UN peacekeeping forces stationed on the Golan Heights since the end of the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Israel said that any firing over the border from Syria would not be tolerated and would be met with a severe response."

Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Six Day War.

Gaza Strip

Separately, Israel also said it is prepared to escalate its response to cross-border rocket attacks coming from the Gaza Strip. The Haaretz newspaper reports that 80 rockets have struck southern Israel since the violence began Saturday in the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip. Three people were slightly wounded Sunday in the town of Sderot, the newspaper said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed a tough response.

"The world needs to understand that Israel will not sit with arms crossed when faced by attempts to hurt us," he said at a weekly Cabinet meeting Sunday. "We are prepared to intensify our response."

Anthony also reported on the escalating violence. Here's what he says:

"On Saturday, Palestinian militants claim to have hit an Israeli army vehicle with an anti-tank missile, wounding several Israeli soldiers. Israel responded with tank fire, and launched air strikes at weapons plants and storage sites. The militants sent salvos of rockets over the border into southern Israel."

Several militant groups, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, claimed responsibility.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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