Israel shot down a Syrian warplane that reportedly entered Israeli airspace on Tuesday afternoon, as red alert sirens sounded in the Golan for the second time in two days.
Two Patriot missiles were fired by the IDF at a Russian-made Sukhoi fighter jet that penetrated approximately one mile into Israeli airspace. Reports today suggested that the plane flew into Israeli territory by mistake, with repeated attempts to contact the pilot, remaining unanswered. As a result, the plane was brought down, crashing in Syria. The pilot was apparently killed and the condition of the navigator unconfirmed.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, released a strongly worded statement earlier. “Our air defense systems identified a Syrian Air Force jet that took off from the T-4 Syrian Air Force base and penetrated Israeli airspace. This is a gross violation of the 1974 Separation of Forces Agreement with Syria . I have reiterated and made clear that we will not accept any such violation. We will not accept any such penetration of, or spillover into, our territory, neither on the ground nor in the air. Our forces acted appropriately. We insist that the Syrians strictly abide by the Separation of Forces Agreement between us and them.”
The IDF had been monitoring unusual military activity on the Syrian side of the border since early morning.
“Since this morning, there has been an increase in the internal fighting in Syria and the Syrian Air Force’s activity,” the IDF said in a statement. “The IDF is on high alert and will continue to operate against the violation of the 1974 Separation of Forces Agreement [which formed part of the ceasefire agreement at the conclusion of the 1973 Yom Kippur War].” The agreement requires maintaining a demilitarized buffer zone separating Israel and Syria.
The downing of the Sukhoi on Tuesday echoed an identical event in September 2014 when a Sukhoi-24 was shot down over the Golan Heights by an IDF Patriot Missile.
On Monday, Israel fired two David’s Sling missiles at two Russian-made SS-21 missiles that were fired from Syria towards Israel. It marked the first time the David’s Sling anti-missile system was used in an actual operation. Neither Syrian missile entered Israeli territory.