Israel says shoots two suspected infiltrators from Syria

JERUSALEM Fri Mar 28, 2014 5:04pm EDT

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JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli troops shot two suspected armed infiltrators at the Syrian frontier in the occupied Golan Heights on Friday, the Israeli military said.

A terse statement said the troops "opened fire, hits were confirmed" after spotting the suspects penetrating the Israeli frontier.

The Israeli news web site Ynet said both men had been killed, but a military spokeswoman would not confirm their condition, nor was it clear to which group the men belonged.

The shootings were the latest of a series of escalating violence along the testy frontier, coming 10 days after Israel attacked Syrian targets in retaliation for a roadside bombing that wounded four Israeli soldiers, in the worst Israeli casualty toll of Syria's more than three year insurgency.

Israel captured the Golan from Syria in the 1967 war and annexed it in a move not recognized abroad.

Parts of the Syrian-held side of the Golan are controlled by rebels fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad, including al Qaeda-inspired militants hostile to the Jewish state. Israel says Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas helping Assad battle the insurgency also have a presence on the Golan.

Spillover violence on the Golan from the Syrian civil war has often drawn Israeli return fire against Syrian positions, ending what had previously been a stable, decades-old stand-off between the foes.

Israel is believed to have struck inside Syria several times since 2013, against advanced weapons it believed were intended for Hezbollah, attacks it has neither confirmed nor denied.

(Writing by Allyn Fisher-Ilan; Editing by Tom Heneghan)

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