'Iranian air defenses tried to shoot down Israeli fighter jets over Syria'

IDF sources say unsuccessful attempt two years ago resulted in no damage to planes or casualties for Air Force in what appears to be the first direct military confrontation between the two enemy countries
Yoav Zitun, Liad Osmo, Reuters|
It was reported on Monday that during an airstrike by Israeli fighter jets in Syria about two years ago, Iranian air defenses attempted to shoot down one of the planes.
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  • The attempt was unsuccessful and resulted in no causalities on the Israeli side, with the Iranian battery destroyed. It appears the attempted attack was the first military confrontation between the two enemy states.
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    An Israeli F-15 fighter jet
    An Israeli F-15 fighter jet
    An Israeli F-15 fighter jet
    (Photo: EPA)
    Earlier Monday, the Syrian government said Israel carried out an attack in southern Syria in a frontier zone where Israel has long been concerned about the presence of Iran-backed groups.
    The Israeli military declined to comment.
    A Syrian foreign ministry source said Israel had committed "a new aggression in the southern region" at dawn, the Syrian state news agency SANA reported. It did not say what was hit or whether there were any casualties.
    Israel has mounted regular strikes against what it has described as Iranian-linked targets in Syria, where Tehran-backed forces including Lebanon's Hezbollah have deployed in support of President Bashar al-Assad during Syria's war.
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    archive picture of a Hezbollah fighter in Southern Syria
    archive picture of a Hezbollah fighter in Southern Syria
    A Hezbollah fighter in Southern Syria
    (Photo: AP)
    A pro-Assad source familiar with the incident said an Israeli drone had struck several sites including a base operated by Hezbollah in al Baath city in Quneitra province and a second target. A third missile hit a reconnaissance tower near a Syrian army base, the source said.
    The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based organization which reports on the war, said an Israeli aircraft had fired rockets at two positions held by Syrian government forces and their allies in Quneitra province.
    The attack had caused material damage and there was no information yet about casualties, it said.
    Syria was discussed last week at a meeting in Sochi between Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Assad's most powerful ally.
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    ראש הממשלה נפתלי בנט עם נשיא רוסיה ולדימיר פוטין
    ראש הממשלה נפתלי בנט עם נשיא רוסיה ולדימיר פוטין
    Prime Minister Naftali Bennett meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi last week
    (Photo: AFP)
    Bennett told his cabinet on Sunday the two secured "stable and good" understandings over Syria - an allusion to deconfliction efforts with Russian forces amid continued Israeli airstrikes on suspected Iranian assets.
    They also discussed Iran's nuclear program, according to Bennett's office.
    Assad recovered control of the Quneitra area from rebel forces in 2018.
    Syria affirmed its right to respond to the attacks, the foreign ministry source quoted by SANA said.
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