First Published: 2017-03-19

Israel threatens to 'destroy' Syrian air defence systems
Israeli Defence Minister threatens to destroy Syrian air defence sytems after Israeli warplanes hit several targets in Syria on Friday.
Middle East Online

Israeli 'defence' minister lives in an illegal settlement in the occupied West Bank

TEL AVIV - Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Sunday threatened to destroy Syrian air defence systems after they fired ground-to-air missiles at Israeli warplanes carrying out strikes.

"The next time the Syrians use their air defence systems against our planes we will destroy them without the slightest hesitation," Lieberman said on Israeli public radio.

Israeli warplanes hit several targets in Syria on Friday, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying the strikes targeted weapons bound for Lebanon's Shiite Hezbollah movement.

Syria's military said it had downed one of the Israeli planes and hit another as they were carrying out the pre-dawn strikes near the famed desert city of Palmyra that it recaptured from jihadists this month.

The Israeli military denied that any planes had been hit. The Syrian government has made similar claims in the past.

An Israeli army statement said "several anti-aircraft missiles" were fired following the raid but that none hit their targets.

One missile was intercepted by Israel's Arrow air defence system, Israeli media reported.

It was the most serious incident between the two countries since the Syrian civil war began six years ago.

In April 2016, Netanyahu admitted for the first time that Israel had attacked dozens of convoys transporting weapons in Syria destined for Hezbollah, which fought a 2006 war with Israel and is now battling alongside the Damascus regime.

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.

Israel seized most of the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War and annexed it in 1981, in a move never recognised by the international community.

Israel and Syria are still technically at war, though the border had remained largely quiet for decades until 2011 when the Syrian conflict began.

 

France, US clash with Iran over changing nuclear accord

Saudi Arabia claims killing of Yemen rebel leader

EU to Russia, Iran: Bring Syria to peace talks

Iraq's Shiites split ahead of crucial vote

Iraq’s ex-football stars from sports to politics

Turkey opposition journalists demand acquittal in terror trial

UN says Syria blocking humanitarian aid to Douma

OPCW experts visit second site of alleged Douma gas attack

Israeli policeman gets 9 months jail for killing Palestinian

US court rules for Arab Bank in precedent-setting case

Lebanese candidates pay hefty price for media coverage

Madani’s resignation sheds light on Iranian power play

Kuwait expels Filipino ambassador over treatment of workers

Syria aid donations for 2018 fall short of amount hoped

Growing anti-war sentiment in the US Congress could spell trouble for Trump

Liverpool’s Salah wins Israeli defence minister’s plaudits

Body of assassinated Palestinian driven through Malaysian capital

'Gap in perceptions' threatens wider Middle East war

UNESCO picks Morocco for project on prevention of violent extremism

Syrian regime retakes region near Damascus from rebels

Mogherini: Iran deal 'needs to be preserved'

Syria rebels prepare as Assad sets sights on next target

Iran's Rouhani questions 'right' to seek new nuclear deal

Trump, Macron call for 'new' nuclear deal with Iran

Syria's Idlib 'big new challenge' for international community

UNRWA chief says Palestinian aid $200 million short since Trump cuts

Bad memories resurface at Raqa’s mass grave

Turkey newspaper chief slams journalist terror trial

Setback for Yemen rebels after strike takes out leader

Saudi issues Islamic sukuk sale to finance deficit

Yarmuk, an epicentre of Syria's bloody conflict

Egypt’s Eurobond succeeds but risks remain

Egypt former anti-corruption chief gets five years jail

Philippines apologises to Kuwait over 'maid rescues'

Iran urges EU not to pay Trump ‘ransom’ over nuclear deal

UAE to finance project to rebuild Mosul's Grand al-Nuri Mosque

EU, UN begin major conference for Syria aid

New tensions rise between old rivals Turkey and Greece

Rouhani warns Trump against betraying nuclear deal

10 killed in Toronto “deliberate” van attack

Nine people killed in Toronto van attack

Yemen Huthi political leader killed in coalition raid

Syria security chief refuses Lebanon court appearance

Air raid kills dozens at Yemen wedding

Algeria draws Europe’s ire by cutting imports, boosting trade with China