JERUSALEM (AP) — The Israeli military said tanks struck two structures inside a demilitarized zone in Syria on Thursday, claiming the buildings violated a half-century-old cease-fire agreement between the two countries.
The structures, it said, were being used by the Syrian military, amounting to what the army called a “clear violation” of the 1974 cease-fire. The Israeli army did not provide any information on what the structures were used for or when they were built.
In Syria, the pro-government Sham FM radio station said Israel’s military struck an area on the edge of the Syrian side of the Golan Heights in the village of Hadar. It said there were no casualties.
The 1974 agreement established a demilitarized separation zone between Israeli and Syrian forces, stationing a U.N. peacekeeping force there to maintain calm.
Assaf Orion, a retired Israeli general and research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, said the strike did not mark a major escalation. The Israeli military often strikes what it says are Iranian-linked targets in Syria.
“It’s just a small match in a much larger fireworks show,” Orion said.
He said both the structures and the Israeli strike violated the cease-fire agreement, which bans both sides from military activity in the demilitarized territory.
The agreement is credited with officially ending the 1973 Mideast war, when a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria launched an attack on Israel on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar. Israel is marking the 50th anniversary of the war next week, based on the Hebrew calendar.
Israel and Syria are bitter enemies, though the cease-fire has largely held for the past five decades.
Also on Thursday, Syrian media reported that Israeli drones targeted two people riding a motorcycle in the Syrian capital of Damascus.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor, said the Israeli strike killed two members of Islamic Jihad, a Palestinian militant group backed by Iran, near the village of Beit Jin in southern Syria.
Islamic Jihad official Ismail Abu-Mujahed denied that any of their operatives were killed in southern Syria.
The Israeli army declined to comment on the reports.