Syria said an Israeli attack against a military post in the country’s south on Monday killed a soldier and injured another. And Israel, in a rare statement acknowledging it fired into Syria, said it was responding to an anti-aircraft fire from Syria against one of its combat planes.
The back-to-back statements come amid heightened regional tension over Iran’s role in Syria and other parts of the Middle East. They also follow a number of reported Israeli strikes on Syria in the past ten days, according to state run media.
Israel does not usually comment on reports concerning its strikes in neighbouring Syria, though it has recently acknowledged striking Iranian targets there.
Syrian state TV al-Ikhbariya quoted a military official saying that the Israeli attack came shortly after 9 p.m. local time and targeted a military outpost east of Khan Arnabeh, a town in Quneitra on the edge of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. An earlier statement on official media said one military vehicle was also damaged when a rocket landed in Tal al-Shaar in Quneitra.
Israel said it was responding after an anti-aircraft fire from Syria targeted one of its combat planes in Israeli airspace.
‘Forcefully and aggressively’
A statement from the Israeli army said that earlier Monday a Syrian anti-aircraft system fired at one of its aircraft “as it was carrying out a routine flight in Israel. The projectile landed in Syrian territory. In response, we targeted the Syrian launcher that was responsible for firing it.”
The Israeli military “sees any threat against its aircraft with great severity and takes measures to defend them.”
Last year, anti-aircraft fire brought down an Israeli jet returning from an air raid in Syria, prompting a wave of Israeli 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.