Israel intercepts two ballistic missiles in the Golan Heights

Posted July 27, 2018

The strikes have led to condemnation from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime, but Israel has maintained good relations with Russian Federation and has coordinated its actions in Syria with Moscow.

Conricus said it was unclear whether the Syrian plane had deliberately entered Israeli airspace, but Israeli forces had observed an "irregular amount of aerial activity" on the Syrian side of the border during the course of the day. When it became clear the two Syrian SS-22 missiles were going to land inside Syria, the David's Sling missiles were ordered to self-destruct, the Israeli military said.

Syrian state media said, however, that a Syrian warplane had been "targeted" by Israel and hit while conducting raids in Syrian airspace.

Israel last intercepted a Syrian jet four years ago.

Today's trails of smoke above the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights are another sign of how Syria's war has agitated the dynamics between old foes in the region.

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But Syria will see the Sukhoi's downing as proof of its belief that Israel has been prepared to help rebel groups to stop the government's advances.

Syria's Grand Mufti, the country's highest religious official for practitioners of Sunni Islam, slammed Israel's recent evacuations of members of the controversial "humanitarian" group, the White Helmets, and has called upon the Syrian and Russian governments to repatriate those evacuated and prosecute them for war crimes.

The spiralling Israeli-Syrian tensions have spurred intercession by Moscow, which sent Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and its top general on Monday for talks with Netanyahu.

What worries Israel is whether al-Assad's forces will be accompanied by fighters sent by Iran, some of whom are believed to be wearing Syrian uniforms.

"We can not wait to see what are the real intentions of the pilot", he said.

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According to Israeli reports, it happened over the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. Earlier this year, Israel shot down a drone that crossed into its airspace, saying it was armed and operated by Iranian forces inside Syria. Seven Iranian military personnel were killed in that strike.

The National News Agency said 850 Syrians living around the border town of Arsal were repatriated yesterday. "They don't need to be close to us to harm us". He said Israel "took appropriate action".

Lt Col Conricus said the Israeli military was on "elevated alert" and had issued warnings that the frontier should not be violated.

The White Helmets have been a target of the Syrian government, which accuses them of staging poison gas attacks and participating in terrorism, claims which have not been proven.

Israel says it has shot down a Syrian warplane which entered its airspace - a rare incident between the two foes.

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