The Israeli military said it bombed a Syrian anti-aircraft battery on Monday night that earlier in the day had fired at one of its fighter jets during a routine mission within Israeli airspace.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that an officer and a soldier were killed in the Israeli retaliatory strike. A military vehicle was also said damaged in the attack.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would “not tolerate any aggression against us, and we will respond forcefully.”
According to the Israel Defense Forces, earlier in the day, an anti-aircraft shell was fired “at an Israeli fighter jet that was in the midst of a routine flight in the north of the country.”
PM Netanyahu: "A short while ago the Syrian army attempted to hit an Israeli plane; it did not succeed. In response the air force destroyed the launcher that fired on the plane. Our policy is clear – we will not tolerate any aggression against us, and we will respond forcefully." pic.twitter.com/obexqYhj3W
— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) May 27, 2019
The military said the shell landed inside Syrian territory and did not damage the Israeli plane, whose “mission was completed as planned.”
The earlier incident was not immediately reported by the IDF.
Shortly after 9 p.m., the IDF retaliated to the anti-aircraft attack, bombing the battery that fired it, the military said.
The official Syrian state mouthpiece SANA said the Israeli strike targeted a military post on the Tel al-Sha’ar hilltop, east of Khan Arnabeh, just east of the border.
“The IDF takes seriously any threat to its planes and will act to defend them,” the army said in a statement.
Last Saturday, Syria said its air defenses shot down a number of missiles fired from Israel, a day after the country made a similar claim.
SANA said the Syrian military intercepted “hostile targets coming from the direction of occupied territories.” Syrian state TV said the missiles were shot down over Quneitra and near Damascus.
The night before, Syrian state TV reported sounds of explosions near the capital, and aired footage of what it claimed were air defenses intercepting missiles fired from Israeli jets seen over Quneitra.
“Aerial defenses detected hostile targets coming from the direction of Quneitra and dealt with them,” SANA quoted a military source as saying.
There was no response from the IDF to those reports. Israel rarely comments on individual strikes in Syria.
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.
They also 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.
The Times of Israel covers one of the most complicated, and contentious, parts of the world. Determined to keep readers fully informed and enable them to form and flesh out their own opinions, The Times of Israel has gradually established itself as the leading source of independent and fair-minded journalism on Israel, the region and the Jewish world.
We've achieved this by investing ever-greater resources in our journalism while keeping all of the content on our site free.
Unlike many other news sites, we have not put up a paywall. But we would like to invite readers who can afford to do so, and for whom The Times of Israel has become important, to help support our journalism by joining The Times of Israel Community. Join now and for as little as $6 a month you can both help ensure our ongoing investment in quality journalism, and enjoy special status and benefits as a Times of Israel Community member.