Israel says attacks Syrian unit that fired at its planes over Lebanon




JERUSALEM (Reuters) - The Israeli air force on Monday attacked a Syrian anti-aircraft battery that Israel said had fired a missile at its planes as they were on a reconnaissance mission over neighboring Lebanon.

No Israeli planes were hit, Israeli military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan Conricus said. The counter-strike took place two hours later and "incapacitated" the anti-aircraft unit located 50 km (30 miles) east of Damascus, he said.

"We know according to our intelligence it was a battery controlled by the Syrian regime and we hold the Syrian regime responsible for the fire," Conricus said.

But the Syrian army said it struck an Israeli warplane that had breached its air space at the Syria-Lebanon border.

"The Israeli enemy this morning violated our air space...Our air defense mediums confronted it, hit one of its planes directly and forced it to flee," the Syrian military statement said.

Over two hours later, Israel launched several missiles that hit a military position in the Damascus countryside and only caused material damage, it said. Syria's army warned Israel against the "grave consequences of repeated aggressive attempts."

Syria and Israel, while old enemies, have rarely traded blows directly since a 1974 ceasefire ended their last conventional war.

Monday's incident was additionally unusual given its publication by Israel, which rarely gives details on its air force activities over Lebanon and Syria to foil suspected arms transfers to Iran-backed Hezbollah fighters.

Such missions in Syria have increased dramatically during the country's six-and-a-half-year-old civil war, Israeli officials say. All efforts, they say, are made to avoid accidental clashes with Russian forces helping Damascus beat back insurgents.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu was due to begin a visit to Israel later on Monday. Conricus said the Israeli military informed Russia of its Syria strike "in real time or immediately before" it took place, and would brief Shoigu.

The Lebanese army says Israeli aircraft regularly violates Lebanon's air space.

Conricus said a Syrian attack on Israeli air force planes over Lebanon was unprecedented. Syrian anti-aircraft missiles were launched at Israeli warplanes over Syria in March. They were unscathed but one of the missiles, on its descent, was intercepted by Israel's Arrow air defense system.

According to Conricus, the Syrian battery struck on Monday had carried out the launch against the Israeli planes in March.

(Writing by Dan Williams and Miriam Berger; Editing by Jeffrey Heller/Mark Heinrich)

COMMENTS

More Related News

Jordan wants Israel to return lands leased under 1994 peace deal
Jordan wants Israel to return lands leased under 1994 peace deal

King Abdullah II announced Sunday that Jordan has notified Israel it wants to reclaim two small plots of territory leased under their 1994 peace deal. "We have informed Israel (that we are putting) an end to the application of the peace treaty annexes regarding Baqura and Ghumar," said the king, quoted by official news agency Petra. The land was leased to Israel for a 25-year renewable period under annexes of the 1994 peace treaty that lay down a one-year notice period, with Jordan retaining sovereignty.

U.S. Treasury
U.S. Treasury's Mnuchin hails Israel investment opportunities, eyes infrastructure

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin praised investment opportunities in Israel on Sunday and said Washington would increase its participation in infrastructure projects there. ...

Israel postpones demolition of Bedouin West Bank village
Israel postpones demolition of Bedouin West Bank village

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has frozen plans to demolish a strategically located Bedouin village in the occupied West Bank that have drawn international concern, his office said Sunday. "The intention is to give a chance to the negotiations and the offers we received from different bodies, including in recent days," a statement from Netanyahu's office said about Khan al-Ahmar.

Israel reopens people, goods crossings to Gaza: statement
Israel reopens people, goods crossings to Gaza: statement

Israel ordered the country's goods and people border crossings with Gaza to be opened on Sunday, just four days after shuttering them following a Palestinian rocket attack that sparked retaliatory strikes. "The decision comes after a decrease in the violent events in Gaza over the weekend and efforts (militant Islamist Gaza rulers) Hamas made to restrain" demonstrators, a statement from Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman office read. On Wednesday, Lieberman had ordered the closure of the Kerem Shalom goods crossing and the Erez crossing for people, after a rocket from the Palestinian territory hit a home in southern Israel, prompting the Jewish state to strike 20 Hamas targets in Gaza.

At least 130 Gazans hit by Israeli gunfire: Palestinian ministry
At least 130 Gazans hit by Israeli gunfire: Palestinian ministry

At least 130 Palestinians were hit by Israeli gunfire Friday as thousands protested near Gaza's border with Israel, the health ministry in the enclave said. An Israeli army spokesman told AFP that while most of the protesters stayed back from the fence, some came close and threw explosive devices and hand grenades at troops, while burning tyres.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Latin America

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.