Friday, October 30, 2015

(En - 30 Oct 2015 - News) Israeli jets scrambled after helium balloon spotted in Golan Heights

Israeli Air Force jets scrambled to the Golan Heights Friday morning after what turned out to be a helium balloon was spotted flying from the direction of neighboring Syria.

Ground forces and jets were dispatched after spotters observed a suspicious object making its way into Israeli air space Friday morning.

The air force is on high alert after last week’s incident when an Israeli-Arab man paraglided into Syria, allegedly of his own initiative, to join a rebels group.

On Saturday night, large military forces were mobilized to the Golan Heights border after one of the military’s lookout positions along the border with Syria spotted a paraglider crossing from Israel and landing in Syrian territory in an area controlled by a rebel group affiliated with al-Qaeda.

The man, a 23-year-old from Jaljulia, crossed the border in order to join a terror group based in Syria, the Israel Defense Forces said.

According to the Hebrew-language news website Ynet, the man landed in the south of the Syrian Golan Heights near the Jordanian border. The area is controlled by jihadist group Shuada al Yarmouq, made up of al-Qaeda defectors.

The group has in the past pledged allegiance to Islamic State, and has been fighting the al-Nusra Front, a local affiliate of al-Qaeda that is today the dominant rebel group in the Golan.

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