Israel Strikes Syrian Anti-aircraft Target and a Spying Device in Lebanon

Israeli army spokesperson calls incident 'abnormal' violation of Israeli sovereignty ■ Lebanese media reports Israeli drone struck an Israeli surveillance system in southern Lebanon

File photo: Missiles flying into the sky near international airport, in Damascus, Syria, January 21, 2019.
SANA via AP

Israel struck a Syrian military target in Quneitra on Monday after an anti-aircraft missile was launched earlier at an Israeli fighter jet, the Israeli army said.

Also Monday, a report in the Lebanese media outlet Al Mayadeen said an Israeli drone struck a surveillance system in southern Lebanon. An additional report said the Lebanese army was at the scene investigating the device, which is said to be Israeli.

By Tormenting Bibi, Lieberman Could Save Israeli DemocracyHaaretz Weekly Ep. 28

According to Syrian state media, one officer was killed and two others were wounded in the strike, which took place Monday afternoon. The report added that Syrian air defense attacked an unmanned aerial vehicle that entered Syrian airspace near the southern suburb.

Residents in the Golan Heights told Haaretz that they heard military jets and blasts from the nearby border with Syria. 

The Israeli Defense Forces spokesperson said it earlier identified anti-aircraft fire at a fighter jet on a routine flight earlier on Monday. The IDF said it struck the launch site in response.

The statement called the incident abnormal, as the attack took place in Israeli airspace, “a violation of Israeli sovereignty” in the Golan Heights.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also commented on the incident, saying that "the Syrian military tried to attack an Israeli aircraft and failed." He added that Israel has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to attacks agaist it, "and we will respond to it fiercely and forcefully."

Israeli intelligence assessments recently alerted that Iran and the Lebanon-based militant group Hezbollah may initiate incidents which would lead to an escalation in the Golan Heights, as part of Tehran's efforts to combat U.S. sanctions and Israeli strikes against Iranian forces in Syria.

In April, Syrian state news reported that Israel targeted a military position near the province of Hama in Syria which was intercepted and some of its rockets downed by Syrian air defenses.

This came just one month after seven members of Iran-backed armed forces were killed in alleged Israeli airstrikes on ammunition depots near Aleppo International Airport. 

Last February, an Israeli F-16 was downed by Syrian air defense after Israel intercepted an Iranian drone launched from Syria into Israeli airspace.