The Israeli military said it thwarted an infiltration attempt from Syria early Monday, likely killing four suspected militants it accused of trying to plant explosives.
Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, a military spokesman, said Israeli troops earlier had been in ambush following “irregular” activity in the Golan Heights.
Israeli troops opened fire on the suspected militants, some of whom were armed, after observing them placing the explosives on the ground, Conricus said. The Israeli military released video showing the four fleeing before disappearing in an explosion caused by the strike.
The Israeli military has yet to determine if the four had ties to Iran or Hezbollah. However, Conricus said Israel held the Syrian government responsible for the incident.
“The Syrian regime is responsible for all events on Syrian soil,” he said, adding that the army “will not tolerate any violation of Israeli sovereignty."
Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in 1967 and later annexed the territory. The US is the only country to have recognized Israel’s annexation.
The incident comes amid heightened tension on Israel's northern frontier following a recent Israeli airstrike that killed a Hezbollah fighter in Syria. Following the airstrike, the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights was hit by explosives fired from Syria and Israel responded by attacking Syrian military positions and beefing up its forces in the area.
Israel has been bracing for further retaliation and last week it said it thwarted an infiltration attempt from Lebanon by Hezbollah members, setting off one of the heaviest exchanges of fire along the volatile Israel-Lebanon frontier since a 2006 war between the bitter enemies.