Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Sunday that Syria’s air defense systems will be destroyed if they fire on Israeli planes.
“The next time the Syrians use their air defense systems against our planes we will destroy them without the slightest hesitation,” Lieberman said while speaking to new military recruits at a military base in the central part of the country, as reported by the Israeli radio station Reshet Bet.
According to a press release by the Israeli Defense Forces, on Friday night, March 17, Israeli fighter jets hit several targets in Syria.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the operation was aimed at destroying weapons that were for bound for the Lebanese radical group Hezbollah, which Israel considers a terrorist group.
It was reported that after the aircraft had already returned to Israeli territory, several air defense missiles were fired from Syria, one of which was intercepted by Strela, the Israeli air defense system. Local media reported that it was the first time the system was used in combat.
The Syrian Armed Forces command said that an Israeli plane had been shot down by a missile. The Israeli army denied these allegations, saying that all aircraft that participated in the antiterrorist operation had returned safely to their bases.
The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that what that took place on Friday night between Israel and Damascus was the most serious military incident since the armed conflict in Syria began in 2011.