Israel threatens to destroy Syrian air defenses if attacked again

Mar 20, 2017, 00:37
Israel threatens to destroy Syrian air defenses if attacked again

It was at least the second time in the space of six months that Syria fired surface-to-air missiles at Israeli aircraft and claimed to have downed them, the Times of Israel said.

Facebook pages associated with Bashar al-Assad's government meanwhile claimed a citizen named Yasser Esayed was killed. Hezbollah and Israel fought a 34-day war along the Israel-Lebanon border in 2006 and both sides say they are prepared for another.

The Israeli military denied that any planes had been struck.

A military spokesperson said in a statement that one anti-aircraft missile was intercepted by its Arrow anti-missile system.

Although Israel has operated with relative immunity in Syria, Russian-supplied anti-aircraft missile systems - including most recently S300 launchers have threatened to complicate Israel's freedom of action.

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Illustrative: Smoke rises following an explosion in Syria's Quneitra province as Syrian rebels clash with Assad regime forces, seen from the Golan Heights in 2014. Late a year ago, 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.

The Syrian army, meanwhile, stressed resolve to confront any future Israeli attack on Syrian positions, adding that the response will be direct by all available means.

There were no Israeli casualties in the incident, and the IOF military spokesperson's unit confirmed Israel struck targets in Syria in an exceptionally rare statement.

A Jordanian military source said shrapnel from one missile fell in the north of the kingdom without causing any casualties. The United States, Israel, and the Arab League consider Hezbollah a terrorist organization while the European Union classifies Hezbollah's military wing as a terrorist group. Liberman is yet to make good on an earlier warning he made back in April 2016, "If I'm the defense minister, I give Mr. Haniyeh (Ismail Abdel Salam Ahmed Haniyeh, a senior political leader of Hamas) 48 hours: either you return the [IDF soldiers'] bodies and the [two wayward Israeli] civilians [held by Hamas], or you're dead".

No Israelis were hurt during the strikes Thursday night or from the anti-aircraft fire, according to a statement by the IDF spokesman.

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