Syria Retaliates Against Israeli Airstrikes as Tensions Escalate

Un missile israelien lancé du système de défense antimissile Iron Dome pour intercepter les tirs venus de Gaza le 7 juillet 2014 Jack Guez

The Israeli army said the rocket fired toward Israel was not among Syria's most advanced and the incident was the first confirmed instance of operational use of the Arrow system - meant to challenge the threat of ballistic missiles - despite being first delivered to the army in the late 90s.

The Syrian army recaptured Palmyra from IS on March 2, three months after losing it to the jihadists for a second time.

The exchange indicates that tensions may be escalating between the two countries as Syrian forces loyal to President Bashar Al Assad tighten their grip after years of civil war.

Israel is believed to have carried out strikes against Hezbollah weapons convoys in Syria, but it rarely makes public comments on them.

The missiles triggered Israel's emergency sirens, which may have forced the army to issue a rare communique confirming the skirmish.

"Overnight.aircraft targeted several targets in Syria", an Israeli army statement said Thursday night.

Israeli media said the Syrian army had fired surface-to-air missiles at the Israeli aircraft. "When we detect attempts to transfer advanced weapons to Hezbollah, and we have the intelligence and feasibility to carry out an operation, we will work to prevent it".


Yaakov Amidror, a former head of Israel's National Security Council, said weapons convoys of the Iran-backed Hezbollah remained a "red line" and that Israel would continue to attack them when deemed necessary.

Israeli Ambassador Cary Koren was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry Friday for clarifications on Israel's air strikes over Syria that night.

Jordan, which borders both Israel and Syria, said parts of the missiles fell in its rural northern areas, including the Irbid district.

Two other missile landed harmlessly in Israel. It is the first time that the Arrow-3 system is known to have been used operationally. The IDF responded with retaliatory fire.

"(With this attack) the Syrian regime is trying to tell Israel it can't stand it anymore and those actions will not be free of charge".

The incident was highly unusual in that it also saw the Israeli military break its customary silence over raids in Syria to release a statement to admit that its aircraft had been targeted while operating there.

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