BY Israel Hayom—
The Israeli Air Force on Monday struck a Syrian missile battery that fired on its warplanes as they were on a reconnaissance mission over neighboring Lebanon earlier in the day, the Israeli military said.
IDF Spokesman Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis said Monday’s strike targeted a Syrian SA-5 anti-aircraft battery deployed 50 kilometers (30 miles) east of Damascus.
IAF jets dropped four bombs on the battery, completely destroying it. Manelis said Israeli forces were unharmed in the incident.
He said the battery had earlier fired missiles at Israeli fighter jets that were on a routine aerial reconnaissance flight, and said the attack was “a clear provocation by the Syrian regime, which is unacceptable.”
At noon Monday, the military spokesperson tweeted: “Earlier today, an anti-aircraft missile was launched from Syria toward IAF aircraft during a routine flight over Lebanon. No hits confirmed.”
While Israel has no intention of being dragged into the Syrian civil war, “it will react to any and all provocations,” Manelis told reporters.
He said the IDF had notified the Russian forces deployed in Syria of the operation in advance, as part of the Israel-Russia regional security coordination arrangements.
He also told journalists that the incident will be discussed during Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu’s visit to Israel.
Shoigu was expected to land in Israel several hours after the incident. He is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and other senior defense officials to discuss Israel’s concerns over Iran’s military entrenchment in Syria.