Syrian Rocket Attacks Unintentional, Israeli Official Says

Israel hopes war-torn country heeds 'warning shots'.

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The Israeli government does not believe the rockets launched from Syria that struck Israeli-controlled land were fired intentionally, a source tells U.S. News.

The mortar fire that landed in the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights, an area near the Syrian border, was likely "spillover from the civil war," an Israeli official says. The Israeli military fired shells back into Syria twice in two days, including an anti-tank missile on Sunday as a "warning shot."

But Israel does not believe this was a direct attack by the Syrian regime or armed rebels, says the source, who asked to remain anonymous.

[PHOTOS: Refugee Crisis Escalating in Syria]

"We fired a shell back to let them know this was not permissible," says the source. "[Israel] sent a message to the Syrians, and hope it was heeded."

The ongoing fighting is dynamic between the rebel factions and the military loyal to the Bashar al-Assad regime, and the situation at the Israeli border could change.

"I can't say about the future," the source says, adding, "I don't think the Syrians are thinking about us right now."

Syria's civil war has leaked into almost all of the region in some form. Most of the neighboring countries with strong Islamic influence, including Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon, now each harbor more than 100,000 Syrian refugees since the fighting began roughly 20 months ago.

[PHOTOS: Violence in Syria Escalates Following Suicide Attacks]

Some estimates put the death toll above 35,000.

Some experts, including analysts at Stratfor, thought the Syrian rockets might have been an intentional attack from the Assad regime, hoping to goad Israel into extended retaliation. The regime could brand this to the Syrian people as an international threat, and reunite the country behind a shared concern.

Stratfor now classifies Assad as a warlord, not a leader, after losing control of much of Syria to the rebel fighters.

[READ: Brazen Rebel Attacks Kill Senior Syrian Leaders]

The likelihood of success for this kind of strategy is small, according to a Stratfor report. Israel does not wish to get involved militarily in Syria, and has the capability to offset these kinds of rocket attacks.

"But with options running out for al-Assad, he may calculate that the maneuver is at least worth attempting," the report states.

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Paul D. Shinkman is a national security reporter for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow him on Twitter or reach him at