Tensions rise as Syria retaliates against Israeli airstrikes
- Author: Elsie Buchanan Mar 20, 2017,
Mar 20, 2017, 0:27
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman has warned Syria that Israel will destroy its air defense system if Syria fires an anti-aircraft missile at Israeli aircraft again.
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.
The Israeli military said it shot down one of several anti-aircraft rockets fired at its warplanes by Syria last week in the most serious military exchange between the two hostile neighbours.
"Following today's clash, no doubt the challenge between Israel and Syria has risen", Amir told the Israeli television. Late past year, IDF troops operating in the disputed Golan region came under fire from militants of the ISIS affiliate Khalid ibn al-Walid Army, Israeli military spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said.
Jordan, which borders both Israel and Syria, said parts of the missiles fell in its rural northern areas, including the Irbid district, leaving debris which caused only minimal damage.
Iran is backing regime leader Bashar al Assad in the Syrian war and has provided militia to support his forces.
The Israeli military denied that any planes had been hit.
An IDF statement early Friday confirmed that its anti-missile system destroyed one of the missiles, noting that "at no point was the safety of Israeli civilians or the IAF aircraft compromised".
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.
Israeli aerial defense systems intercepted one of the missiles, the army said, without elaborating.
However, Israel dismissed the reports that any of its jets were hit.
"Each time we discover arms transfers from Syria to Lebanon we will act to stop them". However, Israel's Arrow defence system 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. At that time, Israeli officials would not say when the missile would become operational.