The Syrian army fired two surface-to-air missiles at Israeli aircraft on Tuesday as the Israel Air Force struck Syrian regime targets in response to errant mortar fire that exploded in the Golan Heights.
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Israel denies a Syrian military claim that it has downed two Israeli aircraft over the Golan Heights in the incident.
The Syrian army said in a statement the Israeli attack took place at around 1 A.M., adding that missiles were fired at an Israeli jet and a UAV west of Sa'sa, in the Syrian part of the Golan Heights. The statement said that the Israeli attack was aimed at helping the rebel forces and raising their moral after the "defeat" they suffered in the Quneitra region.
The incident occured as Israel struck Syrian military targets for fourth time in two weeks after stray mortar fire struck the Golan Heights. It is the first such incident since a nationwide cease-fire in Syria brokered by the United States and Russia went into effect on Monday evening, the second attempt this year by Washington and Moscow to halt the five-year-old civil war.
This incident was not the first time the Syrian army tried to down Israeli aircraft in recent years. During the last year, the Syrian army fired Russian-made SA-5 surface-to-air missile at Israeli aircraft, which failed to hit its target.
An IDF spokesman said in response that two surface-to-air missiles were fired from Syria last night after IDF aircraft attacked Syrian artillery. The Syrian surface-to-air missiles did not hit the Israeli aircraft, nor did they endanger them, the IDF said. "The IAF jets were far from the source of the fire and didn't pose any danger to our forces."
The IDF believes that the mortar shell that exploded in the Golan on Monday was part of inter-factional fighting within Syria despite the cease-fire agreement, and unintentionally exploded in Israel. Still, Israel responded to the mortar shell with an airstrike on Syrian artillery.
Two days prior, the IDF attacked artillery belonging to the Syrian Army in response to a mortar shell exploding in the Israeli Golan Heights. A similar incident took place last Wednesday and the prior Sunday. No damage or casualties were reported in any of these mortar shell explosions