Published: Mon, October 16, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Israel destroys anti-aircraft battery in Syria after it fires at IDF jets

"We reserve the freedom of action, but for us the incident is over and there is no intention of escalation".

The anti-aircraft battery disabled in this attack had, according to Israeli intelligence, been the site of a confrontation in March with the Syrians.

The Israel Air Force attacked and incapacitated a missile launcher deep in Syria after it fired a surface-to-air missile toward Israeli military jets. "No hits confirmed", the IDF spokesperson said. No Israeli aircraft were hit by the anti-aircraft fire.

A military spokesperson said that "a number" of Israeli planes were flying over Lebanon as part of a "routine reconnaissance mission" on early Monday morning, when they came under attack by the Syrian anti-aircraft battery.

Israel has sought to avoid becoming more directly involved in the six-year civil war in neighbouring Syria, though it acknowledges carrying out dozens of air strikes to stop what it calls advanced arms deliveries to Hezbollah.

The Lebanese Shia group is backing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's side in the conflict.

There was no immediate comment from Syria which, while an old enemy of Israel, has rarely traded blows with it directly since a 1974 ceasefire ended their last conventional war.

Conricus said the incident was the first time Israeli aircraft had been targeted over Lebanese airspace since 2011.

An SA-5 interceptor missile on display at the Ukrainian Air Force Museum.

No Israeli casualties were reported, and no IAF planes were damaged.

The Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Shoygu, who is scheduled to arrive in Israel on Monday, will get a full briefing of the strike.

According to one of the heads of the Israeli military's press service, Israel notified Russian Federation of an airstrike on a Syrian air defense battery in real time. Israel is concerned Iran will establish a permanent military presence along its border.

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