Israel intercepts Syrian warplane over Israeli airspace in Golan Heights

Syrian warplane over Israeli airspaceSyrian warplane over Israeli airspace

The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) intercepted and shot down a Syrian warplane that invaded Israeli airspace over the Golan Heights on Tuesday.

The Israel Air Force (IAF) at 8:57 a.m., detected a Sukhoi-24 Syrian fighter jet crossing into Israel’s air space. The jet was 800 meters into Israeli air space when the IAF took the decision to shoot it down with a Patriot surface-to-air missile. The pilot and navigator managed to parachute out of the aircraft.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’lon said that the Syrian warplane had “approached Israeli territory in the Golan Heights in a threatening manner, and even crossed the border.”

He said that Israel “has made it clear in the past, and is reiterating now: “We will not allow anyone, neither state nor terror organization to threaten our security and to violate our sovereignty.”

Yaalon vowed to “respond aggressively to any attempt of this kind, whether its intentional or an accident.”

According to an IAF official, the Syian jet “could have reached the centre of the country within a short time. In under a minute, it would have been over Lake Kinneret, and within five minutes, it could have gotten to any place.”

The interception came after a night of heavy US-led air strikes against terrorist Islamic State targets in the northwest of Syria.

Fighting from Syria’s civil war has occasionally spilled over into the Golan where rebels from the al-Qaida linked al-Nusra front took over the Quneitra crossing.