Israel says it has shot down a Syrian warplane which entered its airspace near the occupied territory of Golan Heights. The Israeli army said it shot down the Syrian fighter jet as it flew at a high speed into Israeli airspace. Two surface-to-air missiles were fired at the Sukhoi fighter jet, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) tweeted.
The military monitored the advance of the aircraft and shot it down with a pair of Patriot missiles after it entered Israeli airspace by about two kilometers. The plane crashed in the southern part of the Syrian Golan Heights, Spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan Conricus said.
A Syrian Sukhoi fighter jet entered Israeli airspace and was intercepted when the IDF launched two Patriot missiles
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) July 24, 2018
Syrian state media said the fighter jet was targeted in Syrian airspace while conducting raids against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and other rebel fighters in southern Syria. "The Israeli enemy confirms its support for the armed terrorist groups and targets one of our warplanes, which was striking their groups in the area of Saida, on the edge of the Yarmouk Valley in Syrian airspace," Syrian news agency SANA quoted a military source as saying.
The incident with the fighter jet comes as Syrian government forces have launched an offensive against Islamic State-controlled territory in the country south-western province which borders Israel. Syrian state media said government forces reached the frontier with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights after capturing territory - the first time they took up positions there since the 2011 uprising.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later said that Syria had committed a "blatant violation" of a 1974 ceasefire agreement, which defines the lines of separation between the two sides' forces on the Golan Heights. "We will not accept any intrusion... into our territory, either from the ground or from the air," Netanyahu said, adding: "Our forces acted appropriately."
Israel is concerned the Syrian military will increasingly enter a buffer zone established between the countries in 1974 that borders the Golan Heights. Israel's military will "continue to operate against" any breach of the 1974 UN armistice deal that established buffer zones on the Golan, the statement said.