Published: Mon, March 20, 2017
Global | By Maureen Mccoy

Netanyahu: Syria raids targeted Hezbollah arms

Netanyahu: Syria raids targeted Hezbollah arms

An Israeli army statement said "several anti-aircraft missiles" were fired following the raid but that none hit their targets.

"The next time the Syrians use their air defence systems against our planes we will destroy them without the slightest hesitation", Lieberman said on Israeli public radio.

Syria launched anti-aircraft missiles toward Israeli jets Friday after a series of attacks by the Israeli air force. According to the Syrian military, one of the Israeli jets was shot down over the occupied Golan Heights while another was damaged. "On this issue, there will not be any compromise".

Liberman has not shied away from threatening rhetoric since taking over the Defense Ministry a year ago.

Israel has been largely unaffected by the Syrian civil war raging next door, suffering only sporadic incidents of spillover fire that Israel has generally dismissed as tactical errors by the Syrian army.

The IDF refused to confirm or deny the report.

An airstrike near Palmyra would be one of the deepest inside Syria since the beginning of the fighting. Israel opposes Assad, but has sought to avoid being dragged into the conflict. The Syrian government has made similar claims in the past. Several moments later, two loud explosions were heard in Jerusalem.

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi on Saturday called for United Nations condemnation of such brazen Israeli violation of Syria's territorial integrity, urging the global body to do its utmost to restrain the Tel Aviv regime from repeating measures in violation of peace and security.

Israel has long focused on stopping the transfer of weapons from Syria to terror groups.

It was another acknowledgment of Israel's ongoing operations in Syria.

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Also Sunday, Chief of Staff Lt. Gen Gadi Eisenkot said that Israel is focused on preventing Hezbollah from receiving shipments of advanced weapons.

"That's how it was yesterday and that's how we shall continue to act", he added. We are fully determined and the evidence of that it that we are acting. The group is at odds with Israel over territory located along the Lebanon-Israel border.

An official affiliated with the Syrian regime told Haaretz that Assayed was a member of the Golan Battalion, a mostly Druze militia that supports Syrian President Bashar Assad.

"The place of enemy armies is being taken by terror organizations and new threats", Eisenkot said at the change of command ceremony for the army's GOC Northern Command.

However, Israel dismissed the reports that any of its jets were hit.

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.

Israeli jets have been hitting targets in Syria since at least 2013, when USA officials told CNN they believed IDF jets had struck inside Syrian territory.

A "hotline" has been set up between the two countries, but Katz said Russian Federation is not notified in advance of an Israeli strike.

Israeli strikes have also gone after ISIS fighters inside Syria.

On Friday, Israeli Intelligence and Atomic Energy Minister Yisrael Katz confirmed the attacks saying that it targeted a convoy which was supposedly carrying weapons to the Shiite Hezbollah movement.

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