Netanyahu: Syria strikes were to block transfer of weapons to Hezbollah

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March 17, 2017 11:11

Syria claims its army hit two Israeli planes and "forced the rest to flee."

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F-15

AN IAF F-15 takes off from the Uvda Air Force Base in southern Israel.. (photo credit:REUTERS)

Syrian anti-aircraft missiles were fired at Israel Air Force jets Friday morning during an air strike on a Hezbollah weapons convoy bringing advanced weapons to its terrorists near the city of Palmyra.

The IDF made a rare confirmation of the air strike, releasing a statement on Friday morning saying that “several anti-aircraft missiles were launched from Syria during the operation. One of the missiles was intercepted by the air defense system of the IDF.”

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According to the IDF, the explosion of the anti-aircraft missile’s interception was heard as far away as Jerusalem.

As a result, a rocket alert siren was heard as far away as the Aravot Hayarden Regional Council area in Israel’s Jordan Valley, the statement said.

Syrian media reported that four IAF jets took part in the raid, which occurred about 2 a.m. Friday, and claimed to have succeeded in shooting down an Israeli plane and hitting a second one as they were carrying out a strikes near Palmyra.

Syria’s SANA state news agency said the country’s “air defense engaged them and shot down one warplane over occupied territory, hit another one and forced the rest to flee.
Arrow interceptor test

“This blatant Israeli act of aggression came as part of the Zionist enemy’s persistence with supporting ISIS terrorist gangs and in a desperate attempt to raise their deteriorating morale and divert attention away from the victories which the Syrian Arab Army is making in the face of the terrorist organizations,” the agency said. “Any attempt by the Zionist enemy to attack any part of the Syrian territory will be directly confronted with all possible means.”

The IDF denied that any jets had been downed, stating that “at no point was the safety of civilians or IAF aircraft compromised.”

Hamas and Salafist terrorists in Gaza have often fired shortrange rockets over the border at Israel, and during Operation Protective Edge in 2014 Hamas fired longer-range rockets that landed deep inside Israel and the West Bank. During the 2014 war, Israel’s Iron Dome intercepted 799 missiles out of a total of 4,594 rockets fired towards Israel, hitting 735 and failing to destroy 64. The system does not intercept every rocket fired at Israel, only those headed toward populated areas.

Terrorists affiliated with the Islamic State group in the Egyptian Sinai peninsula have fired rockets into Israel on occasion, including last month when a barrage of Grad missiles was fired at the southern resort city of Eilat.

The missiles were intercepted by the Iron Dome system.

The border with Syria has been tense since civil war erupted there in 2011, and while Israel is suspected of carrying out strikes against Hezbollah weapons convoys in Syrian territory, it rarely publicly admits to them. It is believed that Israel faces the threat of thousands of rockets pounding the home front in the next war with Hezbollah, which is known to have rebuilt its arsenal since the last war in 2006.

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