Israeli Patriot missile intercepts drone from Syria, army says

Lester Mason
July 11, 2018

Asked by a reporter if he anticipated a time when the Quneitra crossing would be reopened under the UN-monitored armistice between Israel and Syria, and whether the two old enemies could establish "some kind of relationship", Lieberman said: "I reckon we are a long way from that, but we are not ruling out anything".

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traveled to Moscow Wednesday to communicate Israel's security concerns in Syria and Lebanon to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Israeli military said on Wednesday that it had shot down a drone from Syria that had entered its airspace.

The IDF's top spokesman, Brigadier General Ronen Manelis, said that "the IDF will not allow violation of Israeli airspace and will act against any attempt to harm its citizens". The military said it had waited over 15 minutes before firing a Patriot missile at the drone, during which time officials verified that it was not being flown by Russian Federation, which is providing military support to the Syrian regime.

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

"At the meeting (with Putin), the prime minister will make clear that Israel will not tolerate military entrenchment by Iran or its proxies anywhere in Syria, and that Syria must abide meticulously by the 1974 separation agreement", an official Israeli statement said.

"He now needs Russian fighter jets and militias that are commanded by Iran but after Assad controls the entire of Syria and emerges as the major victor in the civil war, he will want to go back to being the only ruler".

Syria and Israel remain in a formal state of war.

Putin has, however, allowed Israel a largely free hand in carrying out air strikes on both Syrian and Iranian targets in the country. An Israeli warplane was shot down during the reprisal.

Tension has increased at the border as President Bashar al-Assad's forces have pressed towards it with an assault against rebels. Russian Federation also has maintained warm ties with Israel and demonstrated a readiness to take its security concerns into account.

Russia, another key ally of Assad, has warned it's unrealistic to expect Iran to fully withdraw from the country but there have been signs of an emerging compromise.

This meeting comes a week before Putin will meet President Trump, and Netanyahu may try to use his close ties to Trump as an advantage in the Wednesday talks. "In that context, we rely on peaceful diplomatic means to resolve any differences and expect both sides to show restraint".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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