In a recording released Friday evening, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu referred to the airstrike, saying, "Our policy is very consistent. When we identify attempts to transfer advanced weapons to Hezbollah, we have the intelligence and we have the operational ability—we act to prevent it.
"This is what happened and this is what will continue to happen. I can talk about our determination, it is strong and the evidence for that is we are acting. Everyone needs to take this into consideration, everyone."
In an interview with Lebanese newspaper Elnashra, a Syrian official said that orders to fire on IAF aircraft were given some time ago, but that Israeli planes have recently carried out their attacks from Lebanese airspace.
According to the same official, "at 2:40, the aircraft penetrated Syrian airspace to conduct airstrikes on Syrian territory. The S-200 air defense system responded and fired at the planes as they attempted to return to Israeli airspace to get the protection of the new interceptor which fired several missiles."
According to Western media outlets, IAF F-15s attacked a strategic weapons target destined for Hezbollah.
Upon their return to Israeli airspace, Syrian air defense systems fired several S-200 missiles at the aircraft. The IDF identified the incoming missiles, which would land in Israeli territory and for the first time, decided to fire the new Arrow anti-ballistic missile at the incoming Syrian projectiles.
The IDF said at no stage were the aircraft in danger and the distance between the missiles and the jets was too long.
(Translated and edited by Fred Goldberg)