Syria fires missiles at Israeli jets after airstrikes

An Israeli F-15 fighter flies over a military base near Mitzpe Ramon. File pic

An Israeli F-15 fighter flies over a military base near Mitzpe Ramon. File pic

The incoming missiles also set off warning sirens in the Jordan Valley, home to the ancient city of Jericho as well Palestinian farming villages and Jewish settlements. Syrian state television later said an Israeli jet was hit, a claim Israel denied.

Damascus said Syrian anti-aircraft systems confronted the planes and shot one of them down over Israeli- controlled territory and hit another. "At no point was the safety of Israeli civilians or the IAF [Israeli Air Force] aircraft compromised", an Israeli military spokesman said.

It added that the Syrian air defenses responded to the attack, shooting down one Israeli jet inside the Israeli airspace, and hit another while forcing the rest to flee.

This also looks to be the first operational use of Israel's Arrow anti-ballistic missile system - launched possibly at an errant Syrian surface-to-air missile - that might have landed in Israeli territory.

Illustrative: Smoke rises following an explosion in Syria's Quneitra province as Syrian rebels clash with Assad regime forces, seen from the Golan Heights in 2014. "When we detect attempts to transfer advanced weapons to Hezbollah, and we have the intelligence and feasibility to carry out an operation, we will work to prevent it". The blast was heard as far away as Jerusalem, dozens of miles away.

"Overnight.aircraft targeted several targets in Syria", an Israeli army statement said.

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There were no Israeli casualties in the incident, and the IOF military spokesperson's unit confirmed Israel struck targets in Syria in an exceptionally rare statement. The Jordanian military said the debris came from the Israeli interception of missiles fired from Syria.

The most serious incident between Israel and Syria since the Syrian civil war began six years ago occurred early Friday morning when Syrian anti-aircraft missiles were shot down by Israel's Arrow 3 anti-missile defense system.

This morning (Saturday), Arab media outlets reported that Israel conducted yesterday's airstrike in Syria in order to prevent North Korean missiles from reaching Hezbollah.

Israeli aerial defense systems intercepted one of the missiles, the army said, without elaborating. Presumably, the two leaders discussed Israel's commitment to defending its northern border against attacks by Hezbollah or Islamic groups in Syria, which now includes ISIS.

Hezbollah is fighting alongside President Bashar Assad in the brutal Syrian civil war.

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