IAF jet accidentally fired missile into Syria last month

In June 28 incident, warplane launched missile at ‘false target’ in what was viewed as serious operational error

An Israel Air Force F-16, December 31, 2015 (Ofer Zidon/Flash90)
An Israel Air Force F-16, December 31, 2015 (Ofer Zidon/Flash90)

An Israeli Air Force jet last month accidentally fired a missile into Syrian territory, Channel 12 news reported Monday.

In the June 28 incident the warplane was scrambled in response to a suspicious airborne target that was approaching Israeli airspace in the Golan Heights, the report said.

During the interception the pilot fired an air-to-air missile, which impacted and exploded in Syrian territory. The army said it later became apparent the missile was fired at “a false target.”

It did not provide further details on the incident.

The pilot’s actions were considered a serious operational error and he was grounded, but has since been reinstated.

The incident was one of several on the restive northern border last month. On June 1, two rockets were fired from Syria toward Israel’s Mount Hermon. In response to the rocket attack, Israel struck several military targets in Syria.

On June 12, Syrian state media reported that Israel fired several missiles toward a mountain near the Golan border.

The border has seen sporadic violence in recent years, including IAF airstrikes inside Syria, which Israel rarely comments on.

Toward the start of the Syrian civil war, the Israeli military established a number of “red lines” that if violated would result in a retaliatory strike, including any attacks — intentional or otherwise — against Israel.

The red lines included Iranian efforts to establish a permanent military presence in Syria and attempts to transfer advanced munitions to the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terrorist group.

In recent years, Israel has acknowledged conducting hundreds of airstrikes in Syria in response to these “red line” violations.

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