A picture released by Israeli Defence Forces press office shows a launch of a Patriot missile in southern Israel.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The IDF launched a Patriot missile against a Syrian unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) on Friday afternoon that was flying inside the demilitarized zone between the two countries.
The IDF said that “a Patriot missile was launched against a Syrian unmanned aerial vehicle in the buffer zone [and that] the drone was apparently hit,” emphasizing that “the IDF will continue to act against any attempts to violate the terms of the 1974 disengagement agreement. The IDF will not allow any violation of Israeli sovereignty and will act against any attempt to harm its citizens.”
Eyewitnesses in the northern city of Safed reported seeing the missile’s contrails in the sky at the time of the launch, The Jerusalem Post
’s sister publication Maariv
In an unconfirmed report, Syrian rebels stated that the drone was intercepted by the Israeli missile on the outskirts of the city of Quneitra.
This is the second drone downed by a Patriot missile in a week. On Wednesday, a Syrian drone penetrated Israeli airspace, flying 10 km. into Israel before being intercepted and falling into the Sea of Galilee.
The country has previously deployed Patriot missile batteries to the North to intercept drones infiltrating into its airspace from Syria.
Two weeks ago, a Patriot missile was fired toward a drone approaching Israel’s Golan Heights from Syria
. According to the IDF, the UAV was not hit and withdrew from the border area following the missile launch.
Tensions in the North have risen in recent days as Syrian government forces, backed by Hezbollah, Iranian-affiliated Shi’ite militias and Russian air power, have fought to retake the Syrian Golan Heights from rebel groups.
In recent days, fighters in Dera’a surrendered a swathe of territory near the Jordanian border, allowing regime troops to turn their focus to the Quneitra province and areas closer to Israel’s Golan border.
As the offensive draws closer to the country’s borders, Jerusalem has called for the 1974 Separation of Forces Agreement between Israel and Syria to be upheld, and the demilitarized buffer zone along the border to be respected.
Anna Ahronheim contributed to this report.