(JTA) — Israel’s military carried out aerial strikes in Syria and intercepted missiles launched at its aircraft from the ground, the Israel Defense Forces said in an unusual statement.
No Israelis were hurt during the strikes Thursday night or from the anti-aircraft fire, according to a statement by the IDF spokesman.
Israel is believed to have carried out several attacks on Syrian soil in recent years, but usually refrains from confirming or denying reports on its alleged actions there.
According to the nrg news site, the strikes were against targets affiliated with Hezbollah, possibly on a weapons shipment to the Shiite terrorist group, which is based in Lebanon but is fighting in Syria alongside the forces of that country’s embattled president, Bashar Assad, against rebels and Sunni militants.
Israeli “aircrafts targeted several targets in Syria. Several anti-aircraft missiles were launched from Syria following the mission and IDF Aerial Defense Systems intercepted one of the missiles. At no point was the safety of Israeli civilians or the IAF aircraft compromised,” the IDF spokesman wrote.
The missiles were launched at the airplanes minutes after they had left Syrian airspace, according to nrg. Debris from the missiles, which were intercepted by the Arrow defense system over Jordan, landed on residential homes in the west of that country near Inba and Irbid.
The Syrian media reported that the country’s Defense Ministry claimed that one Israeli plane was downed and another was damaged from anti-aircraft fire. A ministry statement also vowed “a harsh response against the Zionist regime by all means available.”
Russia, which backs Assad, summoned its ambassador to Israel, Gary Koren, on Friday for clarifications following the Israeli strikes.
Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised Russia’s contribution to the fight against the Islamic State and al-Qaida during a one-day visit to Moscow.