Soldiers mistakenly fire at Israeli crop-dusting plane, thinking it’s from Syria
search

Soldiers mistakenly fire at Israeli crop-dusting plane, thinking it’s from Syria

Troops operating on Golan Heights believed the aircraft had infiltrated Israeli airspace; IDF investigating the ‘serious incident’

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

A crop-dusting plane sprays a field in Israel's Negev Desert, Wednesday (Dror Garti/Flash90)
A crop-dusting plane sprays a field in Israel's Negev Desert, Wednesday (Dror Garti/Flash90)

Soldiers opened fire at a crop-dusting plane flying over the Golan Heights on Wednesday, mistaking it for an infiltrating aircraft from Syria, in what the Israel Defense Forces called a “serious incident.”

The pilot was not injured.

The accident occurred in the central Golan Heights, near the Syrian border. Crop-dusting flights are a relatively common occurrence in the largely agricultural area, which has also seen several cases of unmanned aerial vehicles from Syria entering the airspace above.

“IDF troops operating on the Golan Heights spotted a plane that they suspected of being an enemy aircraft that infiltrated from Syrian territory and represented a real threat, and therefore they opened fire at it. Once they realized it was a civilian Israeli aircraft, they stopped shooting,” the military said in a statement.

The pilot told friends after the incident that he’d felt something strike the wing of his aircraft, but initially believed it was a bird, until he noticed that fuel was leaking out of the plane, the Ynet news site reported.

He quickly landed back in the Mahanaim airfield near Rosh Pina, thinking the shot had been fired from Syria, according to the outlet.

A quick investigation determined that they had in fact been fired by soldiers from the IDF’s Paratroopers Brigade.

“As a part of defending the area against infiltrating aircraft, troops are expected to identify and monitor suspicious craft. But this was a serious incident that is being investigated. Lessons will be learned,” the army said.

Join us!
A message from the Editor of Times of Israel
David Horovitz

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.

Become a member of The Times of Israel Community
read more:
comments