Israel thwarts anti-aircraft missile attacks in Syria
The Israeli military said it shot down one of numerous anti-aircraft missiles launched on Friday at its air force which was operating in Syria, in a rare such incident that spilled over into neighbouring countries.Syria has been using a Russian-made air defense system and Iran has planned to buy a similar Russian system. That Israel has the ability to defeat that air defense system has to give pause to Iran, With Iran's stated commitment to destroy Israel, this weakness in Iran's defenses could be exploited.
The Syrian army said it had shot down an Israeli jet during the operation. Israel denied this, saying that all its aircraft had returned unscathed.
"At no point was the safety of Israeli civilians or the IAF (Israeli Air Force) aircraft compromised," an Israeli military spokesman said.
Rocket sirens had sounded in the early morning in Israeli settlements in the Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank and two Reuters witnesses heard an explosion a few minutes later.
The military said in its statement that one of the anti-aircraft missiles had been intercepted. The blast was heard as far away as Jerusalem, dozens of miles away. There were no reports of casualties or damage.
"Overnight IAF (Israeli Air Force) aircraft targeted several targets in Syria. Several anti-aircraft missiles were launched from Syria following the mission and IDF (Israel Defence Force) Aerial Defence Systems intercepted one of the missiles," the Israeli military said in its statement.
Israel has carried out dozens of strikes to prevent weapons smuggling to the Iranian-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah, which is fighting rebels alongside the Syrian army. However, the interception of a missile making its way over the Syrian border was an uncommon incident.
Syria's army high command said in a statement on Friday that Israeli jets had breached Syrian air space early in the morning and attacked a military target near Palmyra, in what it described as an act of aggression that aided Islamic State.