Israel says it shot down a Syrian fighter jet that penetrated its airspace on Tuesday, but Damascus says the warplane was fired on as it took part in operations against rebels on Syrian territory.
‘A short while ago, two Patriot missiles were launched at a Syrian Sukhoi fighter jet that infiltrated into Israeli airspace,’ the Israeli Defence Forces said in a statement.
‘The IDF monitored the advance of the fighter jet, which infiltrated about two kilometres (1.24 miles) into Israeli airspace. It was then intercepted by the Patriot missiles.’
But, a Syrian military source accused Israel of firing at one of its warplanes as it carried out operations against jihadists over Syrian territory.
The source, cited by state news agency SANA, said Israel ‘targeted one of our warplanes… in Syrian airspace’.
Smoke trails from two Patriot missiles can be seen near the Israeli city of Safed in northern Israel July 24
Today’s incident comes a day after Israel’s air defences fired at Syrian rockets it feared could hit its territory
It is the first time that Israel has shot down a manned Syrian fighter jet since 2014.
The army said there had been an increase in ‘internal fighting in Syria,’ including involving the air force, since the morning hours.
It said it was on ‘high alert and will continue to operate against the breach’ of a 1974 ceasefire agreement between the two countries.
Israel has been stressing for weeks that it would enforce the ceasefire between it and Syria amid a Russian-backed government offensive in the country’s south.
Today’s incident comes a day after Israel’s air defences fired at Syrian rockets it feared could hit its territory.
Israel launched two Patriot missiles over Golan Heights to intercept a fighter jet, according to the military
Another view of the missiles being launched by Israel
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also met Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Jerusalem on Monday to discuss the Syrian conflict.
Israel seized 1,200 square kilometres (460 square miles) of the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Six Day war, in a move never recognised internationally.
Israel has been on high alert since June 19, when Syrian government forces launched the Russia-backed offensive to retake Quneitra and Daraa and provinces, adjacent respectively to the Israeli-held section of the Golan and to Jordan.