World

Netanyahu: Israel will continue to stop weapons transfers to Hezbollah

Netanyahu: Israel will continue to stop weapons transfers to Hezbollah

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) on Friday confirmed its first operational use of the advanced Arrow missile defense system, which it said was used to shoot down a Syrian anti-aircraft missile that was sacked at an Israeli jet.

Israeli airstrikes on Syrian targets overnight triggered the most visible skirmish between the two neighbors since Syria's civil war began in 2011.

"However, the exceptional events forced the Israeli army to release an unprecedented statement in which it acknowledged it carried out strikes against Syrian targets and that it had intercepted missiles fired by the Syrian air defense system", Amir said.

Damascus said Syrian anti-aircraft systems confronted the planes and shot one of them down over Israeli- controlled territory and hit another.

"This flagrant attack comes to show the Zionist enemy's support to the terrorists gangs of the Islamic State, and a desperate attempt to lift their collapsed morale", the statement contended.

Israel is widely believed to have carried out several airstrikes in recent years on advanced weapons systems in Syria - including Russian-made anti-aircraft missiles and Iranian-made missiles - as well as Hezbollah positions.


Israeli sources indicated that the raid targeted "strategic weapons intended for Hezbollah", the Lebanese militia supporting the Assad regime.

The Israeli military denied that any planes had been hit. It would not say whether any other missiles struck Israeli-held territory, but said the safety of Israeli civilians and Israeli aircraft was "not compromised". "None of the aircraft was hit, but one of the missiles was intercepted north of Jerusalem by an Israeli missile defence system".

In 2015, a reported Israeli airstrike near Quneitra killed Hezbollah commander Jihad Mughniyeh, amid claims that he had been setting up a base from which to shoot rockets at Israel.

In April 2016, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu admitted for the first time that Israel had attacked dozens of convoys transporting weapons in Syria destined for Hezbollah.

The Arrow 3 interceptor, created to shoot down missiles above the atmosphere, was handed to air force bases in Israel in January after successful testing by Israel and the United States.


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