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Army: Israel downs drone from Syria over occupied Golan

Aug. 31, 2014 7:43 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 1, 2014 4:50 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Israel downed a drone over the occupied Golan Heights on Sunday, the army said, amid mounting tension on the UN-patrolled armistice line with Syria on the strategic plateau.

Air defenses "successfully intercepted an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that breached Israel airspace above the border with Syria," an army statement said.

"We have said several times that we shall respond to any violation of our sovereignty," it added.

Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon meanwhile toured the region, as the army sent reinforcements along the armistice line and deployed armoured troop carriers, an AFP photographer said.

Yaalon warned that Israeli "tolerance" should not be tested.

"These past weeks we have proven that our tolerance is minimal when our integrity is struck, either intentionally or unintentionally," he said.

Heavy fighting between Syrian government troops and opposition forces overflowed into the buffer zone separating Syrian and Israeli-occupied territory at the weekend.

Dozens of Filipino UN peacekeepers escaped the hot zone overnight after rebels rammed their Golan Heights outpost with armed trucks, the Philippine military said.

Israel closed off the area around the Quneitra crossing on the Golan on Wednesday after an officer was wounded by stray fire as Syrian rebels seized control of the site.

On Aug. 24, rocket fire from Syria hit several points in the Israeli-controlled zone but there were no casualties.

In June, Israeli warplanes attacked Syrian military headquarters and positions after an Israeli teenager was killed in what Israel said was a cross-border attack by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Some incidents have been put down to stray fire from fighting between Syrian government troops and rebel forces.

Israel seized 1,200 square kilometers (460 square miles) of the Golan Heights during the Six-Day War of 1967, then annexed it in 1981 in a move never recognized by the international community.

The UN Disengagement Observer Force has been monitoring a ceasefire since 1974.
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