Israeli jets on a reconnaissance run over Lebanon have destroyed an anti-aircraft missile launcher in neighbouring Syria after coming under fire from it.
The SA5 surface-to-air missile was launched at the Israeli military fighters from an anti-aircraft battery but missed its target. The planes later “incapacitated” the launcher site, located 30 miles from Syrian capital Damascus.
The incident on Monday morning took place while the planes were on a photographic reconnaissance sortie over Lebanon, as Israeli military planners worry about an arms build-up by Hezbollah on Israel’s northern border.
It came as Russia’s defence minister flew into Israel to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to discuss among other things the issue of Hezbollah’s war-fighting capability and Iran’s influence to Israel’s north.
Both Israeli and Russian jets have flown missions over Syria in recent years and the two militaries communicate on a daily basis, and an Israeli military spokesman said the Israelis informed the Russians about the anti-aircraft attack “in real time”.
The added: “The Syrian regime is responsible for any firing from its territory. We see this incident as a clear provocation and we will not allow it. If anti-aircraft fire is being carried out for any military activity, we will respond as we did now.”