Published: Sun, March 19, 2017
Global | By Maureen Mccoy

Iran slams Israeli air raid in Syria

Iran slams Israeli air raid in Syria

The incident was one of the most serious between the two countries in recent years, as the Israeli government has questioned the future of President Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria and also now claims the Golan heights territory, formally still a part of Syria.

Israel has carried out numerous attacks on Syria over the past two years, including a recent missile strikes near the main Damascus airport.

Israel has shot down a Syrian missile using its most advanced anti-missile system for the first time, Israeli media say.

Hezbollah has been fighting in the Syrian war in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

The missiles triggered Israel's emergency sirens, which may have forced the army to issue a rare communique confirming the skirmish. The IDF stated that anti-aircraft missiles were fired as their jets returned to base, but that "at no point was the safety of IDF aircraft compromised". The Syrian army claimed it shot down one Israeli jet in the incident, and damaged another, but the IDF denied the claim. The system was developed with financial backing from the response to Arab states' long-range surface-to-surface missiles.

It's a signal perhaps to all concerned that if weapons supplies to Hezbollah continue, then Israel is ready to escalate its air campaign.

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A Syrian military statement said four Israeli warplanes violated Syrian airspace - flying into Syria through Lebanese territory - and targeted a military position in central Syria. However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed that the strikes targeted weapons shipments to Hezbollah.

Two other missile landed harmlessly in Israel.

Following the war, Israel began developing the Golan, freeing farmers in the Hula Valley from daily Syrian sniper fire. It accused its neighbor of aiding extremist group Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria.

In December, Syria allegedly downed an Israeli warplane and an unmanned aerial vehicle over the southwestern province of Quneitra.

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