Injured Israeli soldier

Israeli medics carry a soldier injured in a blast on the Golan Heights into an ambulance on Tuesday. (Jalaa Marey / AFP/Getty Images / March 18, 2014)

JERUSALEM -- An explosive device detonated along Israel’s border with Syria injured four Israeli soldiers Tuesday, according to the Israeli army, which said it retaliated.

The bomb reportedly went off on the Israeli side of the border when soldiers patrolling

the area of the Druze village Majdal Shams got out of an armored vehicle to inspect suspicious movements.

The soldiers, one of whom was said to be severely injured, were airlifted to Haifa’s Rambam medical center for treatment.

Shortly after the incident, Israel’s army retaliated with artillery fire against military targets in Syria.

Speaking in parliament Tuesday afternoon, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the border with Syria was “filling up with Jihadists and Hezbollah elements,” posing a new challenge for Israel.

The violence Tuesday was the most serious to date during the three-year Syrian civil war along Israel’s northern frontier.

Last week, a bomb went off along the border with Lebanon, injuring three Israeli soldiers and prompting Israeli fire toward what the army described as “Hezbollah terror infrastructure” in southern Lebanon. Those responsible for the bomb are believed to have encroached several hundred yards into Israeli territory, Israeli media reported.

Earlier this month, the Israeli military fired at suspects trying to plant a bomb along the border with Syria.

The incident Tuesday comes weeks after the latest airstrike attributed to Israel, in which warplanes targeted sites affiliated with the Lebanese-based Shiite organization Hezbollah on the Lebanese-Syrian border.

According to Lebanese reports, four Hezbollah members were killed in the strike, which targeted a missile shipment from Syria.

After the airstrike, Hezbollah vowed to retaliate for what it called a “blatant assault on Lebanon and its sovereignty.” The statement said Hezbollah would “choose the time and place and proper way to respond.”

“We hold the Syrian military responsible for the explosion,” tweeted the Israeli army.

Sobelman is a special correspondent.