Israel threatens to destroy Syria's air defences

Syria said it shot down an Israeli war plane and struck another Friday after four of the aircraft violated Syrian airspace.

Earlier, Israel's army confirmed that it intercepted one of several anti-aircraft missiles that were launched at its air force as it was bombing "targets" in Syria.

The Israel Defense Forces is not commenting on the alleged air strike, neither confirming nor denying the Syrian reports.

"Overnight. aircraft targeted several targets in Syria", an Israeli army statement said.

Israel's ambassador to Russian Federation was summoned by Russia's Foreign Minister on Friday to give an explanation for Israel's Thursday night air strikes in Syria, Israeli media reported.

An Israeli military source said Israel's Arrow ballistic missile shield had identified an "incoming threat" and shot down one of the projectiles.

However, Arrow is created to intercept long-range ballistic missiles high in the stratosphere, so it remained unclear why the system would have been used in this particular incident. The Syrian army has called the latest Israeli airstrikes "a desperate attempt" to help the Takfiri terrorist group of Daesh.

In 2006, Hezbollah fought a war with Israel and are now allies of Bashar Al-Assad.

Overnight, March 17, IAF aircrafts [sic] targeted many targets in Syria. "At no point was the safety of Israeli civilians or aircraft compromised".

Israel's defense minister warned it "will not hesitate" to destroy Syria's air defense systems if its fighter jets are fired at again.

It is rare for Israel to publicly acknowledge air strikes inside Syria, with whom Israel is still technically at war.

When Russia redeployed to Syria in 2015, taking advantage of the Obama administration's tepid response to the fighting there, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a quick trip to Moscow to talk with President Putin.

In the summer of 2006, Israel and Hezbollah fought a devastating war that killed almost 1,200 people in Lebanon, majority civilians, and about 160 Israelis, majority troops.

Israel also occupies two-thirds of the Golan Heights, which it captured from Syria during the 1967 Arab-Israel war.

"The fact that the incident developed into a situation where Israel claimed responsibility and the Syrians responded is significant", he added.

  • Leroy Wright