JERUSALEM, Israel -- Israeli jets struck nine targets inside Syria overnight in response to a cross-border mortar attack that killed an Israeli teenager.
Mohammed Karaka, 13, became the first Israeli casualty in the Syrian civil war. The teenager had accompanied his father, a contractor, to work on Israel's security fence in the Golan Heights.
It's the third cross-border mortar attack this month. Israeli tanks immediately returned fire at Syrian army positions.
Israel said it's holding the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad responsible for the mortar attack. Some analysts say the attack represents a dangerous escalation from the pro-Assad camp.
Meanwhile, Israeli troops are continuing their intensive search for three Israeli teenagers across Judea and Samaria, the West Bank. The three were waiting for a ride at a bus stop on their way home from school when they were abducted.
The mother of Naftali Frankel, who holds dual American-Israeli citizenship, says it's been a trying time.
"It's hard to breath but we are doing it," she said. "We try not to think of the details of what Naftali might be going through, but to hope and be very, very optimistic that we will see him soon."
"We're doing everything in our power to get them back safely to their homes," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. "We don't like challenges. Israel is the most challenged nation on earth."
Those challenges may be increasing. One Israeli paper quoted unnamed security sources saying that Israel may soon be facing battles on three fronts: Gaza, Judea and Samaria, and now Syria.