Jerusalem: Israel has been further drawn into the Syrian crisis after war planes and rockets struck nine targets across the border early on Monday in retaliation for a missile attack from Syria the day before. That attack killed an Israeli teenager and wounded his father along the border in the Golan Heights.
The killing of the boy, Mohammed Karaka, 13, in an attack on an Israeli defence contractor's vehicle was the first fatality on the Israeli side of the Syrian border since Syria's civil war started more than three years ago.
An Israeli Defence Forces spokesman said that Israel fired guided missiles from the ground and rockets from the air that hit sites in Syria, including a military command headquarters.
The Israelis would not say where in Syria the targets were. Over the past three years, Israel has attacked weapon transfers in Syria that it says were intended for the Lebanon-based Shiite military wing of Hezbollah. Israel also has fired at Syrian army targets after cross-border fire originated in Syria.
On Sunday, an Israeli teenager was killed and two other civilians, including the boy's father, were injured in what the Israeli military called an intentional cross-border attack from Syria into the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. It is not clear who was behind the attack as both Syrian government and opposition forces are operating in the area.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to the boy's father, Fahmi Karaka, according to a statement from his office.
"The enemies of the state of Israel are not ashamed to use any means, they are not ashamed to attack civilians and to kill children, as they have this morning," Mr Netanyahu said in the statement. "They do not distinguish between the Jewish citizens and the non-Jewish citizens."
The father, who was hospitalised, told Israeli news site Ynet that Mohammed had wanted to be a doctor.
"He was very happy when I agreed to take him with me today and now this joy has turned into a tragedy," Mr Karaka said. "I don’t want to go back to work . . . I can only hope that something like this will never happen to any family, because no one can deal with this type of death."
The attack is the most substantial incident on Israel's border with Syria since the conflict in that country erupted more than three years ago, said Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Lerner, a spokesman for the Israeli military.
"This is not a case of errant fire but of an intentional attack," Colonel Lerner said.
Israeli news media identified the teenager, who was from the Galilee village of Arraba. His father, a worker contracted by Israel's Defence Ministry, had been delivering water to a construction site near the border fence when their vehicle was struck, the army said.
In March, four Israeli soldiers were injured by a bomb planted along the border fence. Israel responded by striking Syrian army positions on their side of the Golan Heights.
On Sunday afternoon, the Israeli army filed a formal complaint with the United Nations peacekeeping force stationed along the Israeli-Syrian border, claiming that the incident was in breach of the cease-fire agreement between the two sides.
Israel has occupied the Golan Heights since capturing the territory from Syria in 1967.
Since then, and up until the start of the uprising in Syria in March 2011, the border had been fairly quiet. Over the past three years, however, Israel has invested almost $US60 million ($64 million) in a state-of-the-art border fence to prevent spillover from the hostilities in Syria.
The Washington Post, The New York Times