The Syrian Army said Israeli warplanes targeted Syrian army positions and hit a “military target” near Palmyra in a Friday morning raid, in what it described as an act of aggression that aided Islamic State. In retaliation the jets were targeted by Syrian anti-aircraft missiles with one of the Israeli fight planes shot down.
According to a statement by the Syrian Army, a total of four Israeli jets breached Syrian airspace on Friday morning, Reuters reports. Syria's air defenses shot down one of the Israeli jets over "occupied ground" and damaged another.
The Israeli Army confirmed it had conducted airstrikes on several targets in Syria, Israel National News reported. However, as usual the IDF insists that none of the jets was harmed. "At no point was the safety of Israeli civilians or the IAF [Israeli Air Force] aircraft compromised," an Israeli military spokesman said.
Overnight, IAF aircrafts struck several targets in Syria and were fired upon by anti-aircraft missiles. pic.twitter.com/Woodc8Pd7w
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) March 17, 2017
Following the breach of the country's airspace, the Syrian Army warned Israel of "direct" retaliation "with all means at its disposal," Haaretz reports. Earlier, a spokesperson of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said that Israeli military jets were targeted by anti-aircraft missiles after they struck several targets in Syria. “I can say that the sirens were the result of the incident," an Israel Defense Forces spokesperson told Sputnik, referring to the launch of missiles at Israeli planes that carried out attacks on targets in Syria.
As Reuters further adds, after Israeli Air Force planes struck several targets in Syria on Thursday night, Damascus retaliated by activating its air defense systems and firing a number of missiles at Israeli jets, according to Haaretz. None of the missiles struck the jets, but one was intercepted by a missile defense system north of Jerusalem, Haaretz reports, adding there were no Israeli casualties in the incident.
"Overnight IAF (Israeli Air Force) aircraft targeted several targets in Syria. Several anti-aircraft missiles were launched from Syria following the mission and IDF (Israel Defence Force) Aerial Defence Systems intercepted one of the missiles," the military said in its statement, as cited by Reuters.
A rocket siren was heard at around 3:00am Friday morning in the Jordan Valley area, after which witnesses heard an explosion. The IDF later confirmed that the sirens were a result of Israeli airstrikes on several targets in Syria, Israel National News reports.
Friday's incident is the third time that Israel has bombed targets on Syrian territory. Recent, in mid-January, Israeli forces hit the Mezzeh Military Airport west of Damascus, with the facility rocked by several explosions according to RT. On December 7, the state agency SANA reported that multiple surface-to-surface missiles had been fired by the IDF from the Golan Heights. Syrian authorities have repeatedly accused Israel of endorsing terrorism by carrying out the attacks. Regarding the strikes, Israeli authorities previously said they were targeting positions of Lebanon’s Hezbollah group inside Syria. Israel views the organization as enemy militants.