Army: Syrians shot at IDF drone, but hit a house in Israel

Attack comes day after air force reportedly conducted strike outside Damascus; in unrelated incident, Israeli sailors open fire at Lebanese buoys

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Druze children pass Israeli army signs warning of a minefield on their way home from school in Majdal Shams in the Golan Heights. (Lior Mizrahi / FLASH90)
Druze children pass Israeli army signs warning of a minefield on their way home from school in Majdal Shams in the Golan Heights. (Lior Mizrahi / FLASH90)

Gunshots were fired from Syria at an Israeli drone on Thursday night, missing it, but hitting a house in the town of Majdal Shams on the Golan Heights, the army said.

There were no injuries reported, but the house sustained some light damage, the Israel Defense Forces said.

The military said that soldiers and police officers were searching the area around Majdal Shams for additional signs of gunshots. The town is home to Druze residents, many of whom maintain a level of support for Syrian dictator Bashar Assad and therefore eschew Israeli citizenship.

The unmanned aerial vehicle was not damaged in the attack, an army spokesperson said.

The IDF said it was flying within Israeli airspace at the time the shots were fired.

According to the pro-Assad news outlet Al-Mayadeen, the drone was flying near the Syrian village of Hader when Syrian military anti-aircraft guns started firing at it.

A video posted to Facebook purportedly shows the shots being fired at the drone, though neither the aircraft nor the guns are visible.

#حضر محاولات إسقاط الطائرة بالمضادات الأرضية في سماء البلدة..

Posted by ‎حضر الحدث‎ on Thursday, February 8, 2018

The attack on the Israeli aircraft came a day after the Syrian army accused the IDF of conducting an airstrike on a military research facility near Damascus.

“This morning, Israeli warplanes fired several missiles from Lebanese airspace on one of our military positions in the Damascus countryside,” said an army statement carried by state media. “Our air defense systems blocked them and destroyed most of them.”

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor of the war, said at least some Israeli missiles had hit military targets near the town of Jamraya, outside Damascus.

Jamraya, which lies just over 10 kilometers (seven miles) northwest of the Syrian capital, is home to several military positions, and a branch of the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC), which is suspected of both developing chemical weapons for Syrian dictator Bashar Assad and helping Iran and Hezbollah improve their missiles.

Israeli Navy boats take part in an exercise in northern Israel simulating a war with the Hezbollah terrorist group in September 2017. (Israel Defense Forces)

In an unrelated incident on Thursday, Israeli Navy sailors opened fire at buoys that drifted into Israeli territorial waters near the northern town of Rosh Hanikra from the Lebanese coast, the army said.

There was no immediate danger presented by the buoys. The sailors conducted the “controlled gunfire” in order to sink the devices, an IDF spokesperson said. This was done to remove any potential threat posed by them, if they, for instance, had been rigged with explosives.

Over the past few weeks, Israeli and Lebanese officials have been engaged in a war of words over an area of the Mediterranean Sea, known as Block 9, that is believed to sit above a natural gas deposit, which both countries claim as their own.

Lebanon and the Hezbollah terrorist group have also protested the upgrades Israel has been making to its border barrier. Jerusalem has responded that it does not intend to halt the construction.

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