JERUSALEM, (Reuters) – Israeli troops killed a drugs smuggler from Syria and wounded another on Saturday as they crossed a fence into territory controlled by Israel on the occupied Golan Heights, the Israeli army said.
An army spokesman said troops on routine patrol along the heavily fortified fence in the northern part of the Golan Heights spotted four men in the area and opened fire at them, they later found large quantities of drugs at the scene. “A routine joint army and police patrol working in the area to prevent smuggling spotted a group of men and opened fire at them … one of the suspects was killed and another was wounded. Two others were apprehended shortly afterwards,” the spokesman said. He added that the two men who had been hit were Syrian nationals and that the body of the dead man and the wounded, who was being treated in hospital, were taken to Israel. He said the two other men were Israeli nationals. “The army considers any approach towards the border from Syria as a threat against the state and its citizens,” the spokesman added.
The border between Syria and areas controlled by Israel is relatively quiet and violent incidents are rare.
Israel and Syria recently restarted indirect peace talks brokered by Turkey which centre on the future of the Golan Heights, a strategic plateau which overlooks northern Israel that the Jewish state captured in the 1967 Middle East war.