Israel threatens to destroy Syrian air defenses if attacked again

Posted March 20, 2017

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.

Since the outbreak of the Syria conflict in 2011, Israel has occasionally struck positions inside its war-ravaged neighbor, especially after mortar shells - allegedly fired from Syrian territory - fell inside the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

Four Israeli jets breached Syrian airspace and targeted military sites roughly around 3:00 am on Friday, prompting Damascus to activate its air defense systems.

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In a rare statement on the matter, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday acknowledged Israeli airstrikes in Syria, defending Israel's right to protect itself from the transfer of advanced weapons to the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah. Several anti-aircraft missiles were launched from Syria following the mission and the Israeli aerial defence systems intercepted one of the missiles. "At no point was the safety of Israeli civilians or aircraft compromised".

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It was the most serious episode between Syria and Israel since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war six years ago.

The Palestinian daily al Quds earlier on Sunday cited Syrian sources who said the Syrian army had targeted an Israeli drone in Quneitra, causing the drone to retreat.

"Israel does not usually confirm or deny individual raids, but it may have been led to do so this time by the circumstances of the incident", Israeli global news TV channel i24 News reported on the issue. But the Israeli military denied the claim, saying there was no sign that any of their jets had been damaged in any way.

It isn't the first time that Syria has fired anti-aircraft missiles at Israel, but it was the first time that Israel officially deployed the Arrow system, Haaretz said. "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".

He added, "I am telling militants fighting within the ranks of the enemies that you are only serving Israel, and shedding the blood of innocent people".