Israeli planes strike in Syria, triggering interception of anti-aircraft fire

Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA) — Israel’s military carried out aerial strikes in Syria and intercepted missiles launched at its aircraft from the ground, the Israel Defense Forces spokesperson said in an unusual statement.

The strikes took place Thursday night, according to the statement. No Israelis were hurt during the strikes or from the anti-aircraft fire, the statement also said. Whereas Israel is believed to have carried out several attacks on Syrian soil in recent years, it usually refrains from confirming or denying reports on its alleged actions there.

According to the nrg news site, the strikes were against targets affiliated with Hezbollah, possibly on a weapons shipment to the Shi’ite terrorist group, which is based in Lebanon but is fighting in Syria alongside the forces of that country’s embattled president Bashar Assad against rebels and Sunni militants.

Israel Air Force “aircrafts targeted several targets in Syria. Several anti-aircraft missiles were launched from Syria following the mission and IDF Aerial Defense Systems intercepted one of the missiles. At no point was the safety of Israeli civilians or the IAF aircraft compromised,” the spokesperson’s unit of the Israel Defense Forces wrote.

According to nrg, the missiles were launched at the airplanes long minutes after they had left Syrian airspace. Debris from the missiles, which were intercepted by the Arrow defense system over Jordan, landed on residential homes in the west of that country near Inba and Irbid, the report said.

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According to the Syrian media, that country’s defense ministry is claiming that one Israeli plane was downed and another was damaged from anti-aircraft fire.

“At 02:40 a.m. aerial forces penetrated the space over the al-Buraiej region, passing through Lebanese airspace and striking a military outpost in the area of the city of Palmyra in the Homs District at the heart of the country,” a statement by the Syrian army, which the news site Ynet translated to Hebrew, read. “The aerial defense system responded and downed a plane inside Israel’s territory. Another plane was hit. The remaining planes were forced to retreat.”

The statement also vowed “ a harsh response against the Zionist regime by all means available.”