Liberman warns Syria after drone downed near border
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Liberman warns Syria after drone downed near border

Unmanned aircraft hit by IDF’s missile defense system as it approaches Israeli territory above Golan Heights

Yisrael Beytenu leader and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman leads a faction meeting at the Knesset on July 10, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Yisrael Beytenu leader and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman leads a faction meeting at the Knesset on July 10, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Saturday stressed that the State of Israel will respond with force to any violation of its sovereignty, after the IDFs’ Patriot missile defense system shot down a drone above the Golan Heights, near the border with Syria.

“The Syrian regime is responsible for every attack and violation of our sovereignty, and we will not allow the Shiite axis to be established in Syria as a base for action,” Liberman said.

He also called on the Syrian regime to restrain all elements operating from its territory.

Israeli security officials said the drone’s operators had deliberately attempted to fly the aircraft across the Israeli border from Syria, but it was shot down without crossing into Israel.

The IDF later concluded that the aircraft belonged to Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime.

Last month, the IDF fired into Syria, hitting three rocket launchers, in response to earlier rocket fire, and warned that further fire would prompt a more intensive response.

Earlier that month, the Syrian army launched an interceptor missile at Israeli Air Force reconnaissance aircraft, which the IDF says were flying over Lebanon. In response, Israel sent out a second sortie of F-16 fighter jets to bomb an anti-aircraft battery that it believed launched the missile.

On Friday, the BBC reported that Iran was building a permanent military base in Syria just south of Damascus. The British broadcaster commissioned a series of satellite pictures that indicate widespread construction at the site.

Satellite image of alleged Iranian base in Syria from October 2017 (Airbus, Digital Globe and McKenzie Intelligence Services/BBC)

Israel has long warned that Iran is trying to establish a permanent presence in Syria as part of its efforts to control a land corridor from Iran through to the Mediterranean Sea as it attempts to expand its influence across the Middle East.

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