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Israel Patriot missile intercepts drone from Syria: army

Local | 2018-07-11 21:12:00
Israel Patriot missile intercepts drone from Syria: army
Israel intercepted a drone launched from Syria with a Patriot missile Wednesday, setting off sirens in the occupied Golan Heights, the army said.

The drone, which had also overflown Jordan and appeared to have been unarmed and designed for surveillance, was downed near the Sea of Galilee at the Golan foothills in northern Israel, spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan Conricus told reporters.

"We are still looking into why it crossed - whether it was on a military mission and crossed on purpose, or it strayed," he said, while adding that the latter scenario was "not common".

"UAV from Syria intercepted by Patriot missile, causing sirens in Golan and Emek HaYarden Regional Councils. More details to follow," an army statement said.

The Emek HaYarden region is located southwest of the Golan, near Syria.

Israel has been on alert in recent weeks over fighting in the south of neighboring Syria, warning that ceasefire lines between Syria and Israel must be respected.

Spillover fire from Syria's civil war has occasionally landed in the Israeli-controlled Golan.

Israel is especially concerned about Iran's military presence in Syria.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly warned his country will not allow Iran, its main enemy, to entrench itself militarily next door.

In February, Israel intercepted what it said was an armed drone sent into its territory by Iran.

A series of strikes in Syria that have killed Iranians have been attributed to Israel in recent months.

Iran is backing Syrian President Bashar Assad in the war, as is Russia.

Wednesday's incident came as Netanyahu travelled to Russia to meet President Vladimir Putin.

Israel seized a large swathe of the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Mideast War and later annexed it, in a move never recognized by the international community.

AFP
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