After exchange of fire, Israel threatens Syria's air defences with destruction

Hazel Gray
March 20, 2017

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Israel would continue to prevent arms being transferred through Syria to Lebanese Hezbollah despite wanting to keep out of the Syrian civil war itself, Israel Radio reported.

The Israeli military denied Syria's claims and said that its forces intercepted an anti-aircraft missile, without elaborating, according to the Associated Press. Late previous year, IDF troops operating in the disputed Golan region came under fire from militants of the ISIS affiliate Khalid ibn al-Walid Army, Israeli military spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said. Israel's Channel 10 said the mission was to destroy a weapons convoy destined for Hezbollah. Last April, Netanyahu confirmed that Israel had struck Syria "dozens of times", breaking with the policy of remaining quiet about involvement in its war-torn northern neighbor. "When we identify attempts to transfer advanced weapons... That is what was and that is what will be", Netanyahu said. Hezbollah and Israel fought a 34-day war along the Israel-Lebanon border in 2006 and both sides say they are prepared for another. "We won't hesitate. Israel's security is above everything else; there will be no compromise".

Facebook pages associated with Bashar al-Assad's government meanwhile claimed a citizen named Yasser Esayed was killed.

Overnight, March 17, IAF aircrafts [sic] targeted many targets in Syria.

Damascus said Syrian anti-aircraft systems confronted the planes and claimed one of the jets was shot down in Israeli- controlled territory and that another was hit. "None of the aircraft was hit, but one of the missiles was intercepted north of Jerusalem by an Israeli missile defence system".

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The Israel Defense Forces refused to comment on the reports.

The group said it was an Israeli drone that had carried out the strike.

Umm Bilal al-Khatib, a local resident, said she heard a blast at around 3 a.m. and initially thought a gas cylinder had exploded.

According to the news agency, regime air defenses had also "struck another [Israeli] jet and forced the other two to withdraw". Israel has responded to the errant fire with limited reprisals on Syrian positions.

Tel Aviv Syria tried to shoot down a squadron of Israeli warplanes that had carried out an airstrike near the desert city of Palmyra, in the most serious confrontation between the two countries for several years. Syrian troops backed by Russian forces had first retaken it in March previous year.

Other reports by VgToday

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