Israel Shoots Down Syrian Fighter Jet Penetrating Israeli Airspace

Two Patriot missiles fired at Russian-made Sukhoi plane, which entered two kilometers into Israel..

Israel shot down a Syrian fighter jet that penetrated Israeli airspace on Tuesday, the Israeli army said. It said that the Russian-made Sukhoi was under surveillance when it entered some two kilometers into Israeli airspace.

Syria said that one its jets was targeted by Israel while conducting raids in southern Syria, in Syrian airspace.

Israel’s air defenses fired two Patriot missiles at the plane. It was not immediately clear where the plane crashed, and no details were given as to the fate of the pilots.

The Israeli military said that the Syrian plane took off from the T4 airbase near Hama, which was the target of at least two Israeli airstrikes in the past. The base was used by Iranian forces and housed a command center for Iran’s drone operations in Syria.

Earlier, sirens went off in Israeli communities across the Golan Heights, near the Syria border. Residents in northern Israel reported seeing interceptor missiles being fired from the Safed area and reported hearing explosions.

The Israeli army said in a statemetn that Tuesday morning saw internal fighting in Syria intensifying, “including increased activity by Syrian air forces. The IDF is ready and vigilant and will continue to act against violations of the 1974 separation of forces agreements.”

This is the second time the Israel Air Force has brought down a Russian-made Syrian jet since 1985. The other time was in 2014, when it shot down a Sukhoi-24 that entered Israeli airspace over the Golan Heights. At the time, the plane was intercepted by a Patriot missile some 800 meters west of the Israel-Syria border. The decision to intercept that plane was taken within 80 seconds, and by the time the interceptor missile hit the jet, it was already on its way back to Syrian airspace. The two pilots ejected and landed in Syrian territory.

On Monday of this week, Israel used its David’s Sling missile-defense system operationally for the first time, firing at two Syrian surface-to-surface missiles. An initial army investigation found that the system identified the two Russian-made SS-21 missiles, calculating that they were likely to land south of Lake Kinneret. An Israeli lieutenant colonel made the decision to use the system.

The investigators found that one of the missiles fired Monday changed course in flight and was expected to fall in Syria. One interceptor missile was therefore ordered to self-destruct. Israel also launched an interceptor missile at the second Syrian rocket, but it is unclear if it hit its target.

This is a developing story…