March 17 (UPI) — Israel on Friday said it carried out airstrikes against several targets in Syria and rejected allegations by President Bashar al-Assad‘s regime that it downed one Israeli aircraft and struck another.
“Overnight, [the Israeli air force] conducted strikes against several targets in Syria. Anti-aircraft missiles launched at the aircraft were intercepted,” Israel Defense Forces spokesperson Peter Lerner wrote on Twitter.
The Syrian military said four Israeli aircraft entered Syria’s airspace through Lebanon at 2:40 a.m. and targeted a military site near Palmyra. Syria accused Israel of supporting the Islamic State, also known as Daesh, ISIL and ISIS. The Syrian regime often accuses most rebels of being terrorists.
“This blatant Israeli act of aggression came as part of the Zionist enemy’s persistence with supporting ISIS terrorist gangs and in a desperate attempt to raise their deteriorating morale and divert attention away from the victories which Syrian Arab Army is making in the face of the terrorist organizations,” the Syrian military said in a statement.
Israel denied Syria’s allegation that it shot down an Israeli airplane, struck another and forced the other two to withdraw.
“At no point was the safety of Israeli civilians or the IAF aircraft compromised,” IDF said in a statement.
Israel said one of the missiles shot by Syria was intercepted by Israel’s Arrow missile defense system — the first time it is used since it was deployed two decades ago.