Syrian reports claim Israeli aircraft struck vehicle near border, killing driver

20 March, 2017, 00:25 | Author: Ora Austin
  • IAF warplane

Israeli airstrikes on Syrian targets overnight have triggered the most visible skirmish between the two neighbours since Syria's civil war began in 2011, according to media reports.

On Friday, Israeli Intelligence and Atomic Energy Minister Yisrael Katz confirmed the attacks saying that it targeted a convoy which was supposedly carrying weapons to the Shiite Hezbollah movement. Air force officials said the jets were attacked three Syrian surface-to-air missiles, one of which was intercepted by the Israeli Aerial Defence System known as "Arrow".

The missiles triggered Israel's emergency sirens, which may have forced the army to issue a rare communique confirming the skirmish.

"(Our) aircraft was at no point compromised", army spokesman Peter Lerner said.

The Syrian army claimed it successfully shot down one Israeli plane and hit a second - a claim swiftly denied by Israel.

The Arrow 3 interceptor, created to shoot down missiles above the atmosphere, was handed to air force bases in Israel in January after successful testing by Israel and the United States.

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Illustrative: Smoke rises following an explosion in Syria's Quneitra province as Syrian rebels clash with Assad regime forces, seen from the Golan Heights in 2014.

Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow to discuss what he said was an Iranian attempt to establish a permanent military foothold in Syria.

Israel has reportedly struck Syria multiple times in the past, often targeting weapons shipments headed for Hezbollah, the anti-Israeli group based in Lebanon. As reported yesterday by JOL, an anti-aircraft missile was shot at Israel in response to the airstrike, which was intercepted by the IDF's Arrow System. The group is sworn to Israel's destruction, and fired thousands of rockets into Israel during a monthlong war in 2006.

Syria accused Israel of supporting the Islamic State.

His comments came after the Israeli army announced that its aircraft have carried out several strikes inside Syria.

An Israeli drone on Sunday reportedly struck a vehicle on a road in Syria between the suburbs of Quneitra near the Israeli border and Damascus, killing the driver, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The Israeli radio spoke about a "dramatic night".

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