Published: Sun, February 11, 2018

Israel Launches Strikes Against Iranian Targets In Syria

Israel Launches Strikes Against Iranian Targets In Syria

The pro-Assad military alliance said Israel had attacked a drone base in central Syria but denied any of its drones had entered Israeli airspace.

Meanwhile Hezbollah, a Shia group which is represented in the Lebanese parliament and has a strong armed wing, hailed Syria's response to Israel's attack on Iranian and Syrian bases in Syria, saying it signals "a new strategic phase" that puts an end to violation of Syrian territories.

Prime Minister Netanyahu made a statement this morning about the incursion and Israel's response. Gen. Tomer Bar, second in command of Israel's Air Force, noted that the operation was "the biggest and most significant attack the air force has conducted against Syrian air defenses" since the 1982 Lebanon War.

Israel has long maintained air superiority in the region, mounting air strikes in Syria on a regular basis, targeting suspected weapons shipments to Hezbollah.

Over the past years, Israel has frequently attacked targets in Syria, often claiming that it hit positions or convoys belonging to Iran.

Syrian Army officials said the drone had been carrying out a routine mission against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, over Syrian airspace, according to the news site Al-Manar. If Israel does become more engaged in the fighting next door, it could have serious consequences for the war in Syria war - and for the region as a whole.

Israel has sought to avoid direct involvement in the Syrian war, but acknowledges carrying out dozens of air strikes there to stop what it calls advanced arms deliveries to Hezbollah.

Separately, Iran issued a joint statement alongside the other main allies of the Syrian regime - Russian Federation and Lebanese militant group Hezbollah - denying the allegations regarding the drone.

Former Syrian lawmaker and political commenter Sharif Shehade said the anti-aircraft fire marked a political decision in Syria to respond to Israeli strikes, and that tensions would continue to rise unless Washington and Moscow intervened to calm the situation.


The incident came after an Israeli combat helicopter successfully intercepted an Iranian unmanned aerial vehicle that had been launched from Syria, the Israel Defense Forces said.

Open conflict across the Syrian border is unlikely to be in the interest of either Israel or Iran-aligned forces at the moment.

The aircraft met "massive Syrian anti-air fire", Conricus said, and the F-16 crashed afterwards in the Jezreel valley in northern Israel .

The drone had been sighted taking off from a base in Syria, and was intercepted after it crossed into Israeli territory, spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus said. "But now Iran has openly defied the rules by sending the drone, so Israel hit back forcefully", says Gabriel Ben-Dor, a University of Haifa Middle East specialist.

Netanyahu has been seeking to persuade Russian Federation to limit Iran's presence near Israeli territory and to stop it from entrenching itself militarily in Syria .

Israel has shot down several drones that previously tried to infiltrate its territory from Syria.

SIMON: The Israeli military has struck targets in Assad's areas before, but is this an escalation?

"Israel wants peace but we will continue to defend ourselves with determination against any attack on us and against any attempt by Iran to entrench itself militarily in Syria or anywhere else", he said.

Danny Danon, Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, urged the UN Security Council to condemn Iran's actions and halt its "provocations".

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