Israel strikes Syria, Damascus says soldier killed

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government retaliates to Syrian anti-aircraft systems. (AFP pic)

BEIRUT: Israel’s military said it attacked a Syrian anti-aircraft position that fired on one of its warplanes on Monday, and Syrian state media reported that a soldier had been killed in what it called an “Israeli aggression”.

“Syrian anti-aircraft systems fired at an IDF fighter jet during a routine flight in northern Israel,” an Israeli military statement said, adding that the plane was not hit but that the Syrian projectile landed in Israeli territory.

A Syrian military source was cited by state news agency SANA as saying “the Israeli enemy targeted one of our military positions” in Quneitra province, which is adjacent to the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

It said one soldier was killed, another injured and a military vehicle damaged.

Last year, anti-aircraft fire brought down an Israeli jet returning from an air raid in Syria, prompting a wave ofIsraeli strikes against other targets there.

Israel has acknowledged carrying out hundreds of strikes in recent years to curtail the influence of its arch-foe Iran and Tehran’s Lebanese ally Hezbollah, which are fighting on the side of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria’s war.

“Our policy is clear: we are not prepared to tolerate any aggression against us. We will respond forcefully and aggressively,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a video released after the incident.