Israeli missile downs Syrian drone over Golan Heights
search

Israeli missile downs Syrian drone over Golan Heights

Unmanned aircraft penetrates Israeli airspace; IDF says it was under surveillance the whole time

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

An illustrative photo of a firefighter extinguishing a fire in a field near the Gaza Strip that was sparked by a flaming object flown from the Palestinian enclave, on June 5, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
An illustrative photo of a firefighter extinguishing a fire in a field near the Gaza Strip that was sparked by a flaming object flown from the Palestinian enclave, on June 5, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

A Patriot missile intercepted a Syrian drone that entered Israeli airspace on Thursday evening, the army said.

According to the IDF, the missile successfully downed the unmanned aerial vehicle over the Golan Heights.

“The IDF will not allow any breach of Israel’s airspace and will act against any attempt of infiltration,” the army said in a statement.

According to the IDF, the Syrian UAV was under “full [Israeli Air Force] surveillance” while it was in Israeli airspace.

It was not initially clear if the aircraft was Russian or Syrian, but the army later confirmed that it was Syrian.

The army said residents of northern Israel could go about their lives as normal.

A video from the northern Israeli city of Safed showed the Patriot missile launch.

On Wednesday, Arab media reported that Israel attacked a Syrian Army air base near Damascus.

Israel would not officially comment on whether it had carried out the strike. However, Syrian officials insisted the Jewish state was behind the attack, which reportedly targeted a stash of weapons that were bound for the Iran-backed Hezbollah terrorist group.

Though he didn’t explicitly acknowledge Israel was behind it, Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz said the attack was consistent with Israel’s policy of preventing arms transfers to Hezbollah.

Israel has carried out multiple airstrikes in Syria since that country’s civil war erupted in 2011, most of which it has said targeted arms convoys or warehouses of its Lebanese arch-foe Hezbollah, which is a key supporter of the Syrian regime.

Last month, the army said it conducted several strikes near the Syrian desert city of Palmyra, targeting what it said were “advanced weapons” belonging to Hezbollah.

The strikes prompted Syria to launch ground-to-air missiles, one of which was intercepted over Israeli territory in the most serious flare-up between the two neighbors since the Syrian civil war began six years ago.

The Patriot missiles were designed by the United States to intercept incoming missiles and aircraft.

They have been deployed in Israel since the 1990s, but first saw anti-aircraft combat during the 2014 Gaza war, when a battery shot down an unmanned Hamas aircraft over the port of Ashdod.

On August 31, 2014, the system saw its second combat use, when a battery shot down a Syrian unmanned aerial vehicle in the Golan Heights.

A month after that, the Patriot system was used to down a Syrian Air Force Sukhoi Su-24, which penetrated Israeli air space.

AFP contributed to this report.

read more:
comments