The decision to strike the Syrian Pantsir-S1 anti-air missile system was made after it opened fire on Israeli aircraft, the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) told TASS in a press conference.
“The installation attacked by Israel’s Air Force fired missiles at Israeli aircraft to shoot them down. The IDF will continue to act against anyone who tries to harm the State of Israel and its inhabitants,” the IDF said in its statement.
As reported by Haaretz on May 10, Israel decided to carry out an operation in Syria after Iran fired 20 missiles at Israeli positions in the Golan Heights. The Israeli aircraft entered Syrian airspace with the intention of striking dozens of Iranian targets. However, the Syrian anti-air defense system began to fire missiles at the planes. In response, the Israeli planes shot at and destroyed five Syrian anti-air batteries. The destroyed systems included Russian produced Pantsir-S1, S-75 Dvina, S-200 and Buk systems.
After the operation, Israel published a video showing the destruction of the Pantsir-S1.
The IDF struck an SA22 aerial interception system as part of a wide-scale attack against Iranian military sites in Syria pic.twitter.com/dFGXIwMT45— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) May 10, 2018
On the night of May 10th, the Iranian military, operating in Syria, fired dozens of missiles on positions of Israeli military in the Golan Heights. Israel struck back, attacking dozens of Iranian military facilities in Syria.
The situation in the Middle East worsened after the US withdrawal on May 8th from the nuclear deal concluded with Iran in 2015. Iran has troops stationed in Syria supporting the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
Washington has recognized Israel’s right to self-defense. “We will support any action by this country aimed at self-defense,” commented White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders at a briefing on the events. The White House considers Iran’s missile strike on Israeli positions in the Golan heights “yet another demonstration of the fact that the Iranian regime cannot be trusted”.