Israeli Airstrikes Prompt Syria to Fire Anti-Aircraft Missiles

Anti-aircraft missiles were launched from Syria into Israeli-controlled territory early Friday, following a series of Israeli airstrikes inside Syria, the Israeli military said.

The military said its warplanes struck several targets in Syria and were back in Israeli-controlled airspace when several anti-aircraft missiles were launched from Syria toward the Israeli jets.
In a rare move, the Israeli Defense Force, or IDF, issued a statement acknowledging the operation.
“Overnight, March 17, IAF aircrafts targeted several targets in Syria,” the statement said. “Several anti-aircraft missiles were launched from Syria following the mission and the IDF aerial defense systems intercepted one of the missiles. At no point was the safety of Israeli civilians or the IAF aircraft compromised.”
No word on Syrian targets
Israel said none of its aircraft was hit by the missiles.
Officials did not say what was targeted across the border in Syria. There was no immediate comment from the government in Damascus, nor its ally Hezbollah, a Lebanese militant group that is believed to possess such missiles.
The army said the incident set off sirens in Jewish settlement communities in the Jordan Valley in the West Bank. 

The firing of missiles from Syria toward Israeli aircraft is extremely rare, though Israeli military officials said there was a shoulder-fired missile a few months ago.
Missile defense system kicked in

Israeli Channel 10 TV reported that Israel deployed its Arrow defense system for the first time against a real threat and hit an incoming missile, intercepting it before it exploded in Israel. 

The Arrow is mainly designed for ballistic missiles. It is part of what Israel calls its “multilayer missile defense” comprised of different systems meant to protect against short- and long-range threats, including the thousands of missiles possessed by Hezbollah in neighboring Lebanon and rockets used by Hamas and other Islamic militant groups in Gaza.

Israel has been largely unaffected by the Syrian civil war raging next door, suffering mostly sporadic incidents of spillover fire over the frontier that Israel has generally dismissed as tactical errors by Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government forces. Israel has responded to these cases lightly, with limited reprisals on Syrian positions in response to the errant fire.



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