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Israel Confirms Syria Airstrikes for First Time | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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An ”Arrow 3” ballistic missile interceptor is seen during a 2015 test launch near Ashdod. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

Beirut, Tel Aviv- Contrary to its usual behavior in previous operations, Israel announced on Friday it had carried out air raids on several targets inside Syria.

But conflicting reports emerged concerning what happened: The Syrian regime said the Israeli airstrikes targeted an area in Palmyra, in central Syria, while opposition sources said Israel targeted a truck carrying weapons for “Hezbollah” near Qalamoun that lies on the Lebanese border.

Israeli sources confirmed that the airstrikes targeted Scud 700 missiles, which Hezbollah was planning to transfer from an arms industry near Aleppo in an area controlled by Russian forces, to Lebanon.

The situation got more complicated when the Syrian regime announced it launched ground-to-air missiles to intercept Israeli violations of its airspace.

Also, Hebrew media outlets said Syria’s air defenses launched missiles for the first time at Israeli planes.

“Overnight Israeli Air Force aircraft targeted several targets in Syria. Several anti-aircraft missiles were launched from Syria following the mission” and Israeli Aerial Defense Systems intercepted one of the missiles, the Jewish state’s military said in a statement.

The Syrian forces claimed that they had shot down an Israeli jet during the operation and had damaged another.

A statement issued by the forces said: “The Syrian air defense downed one of four Israeli warplanes that violated the Syrian airspace and targeted a military site in the eastern countryside of Homs.”

However, Israel denied the Syrian statement, saying: “At no point was the safety of Israeli civilians or the IAF (Israeli Air Force) aircraft compromised.”

Meanwhile, the Pentagon denied accusations that US forces had targeted a mosque in the Aleppo suburbs in northern Syria.

Rejecting accusations by a Syrian rebel group, the Pentagon released an aerial image showing the mosque still untouched near a building that had been reduced to rubble by the US strike.

Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis, addressing a Pentagon news conference said: “We struck a meeting of senior al-Qaeda terrorists, some of these were likely high value individuals, we’re currently assessing that.”

The strikes had killed 46 people and wounded dozens.