Israel targets Syrian anti-aircraft battery after its planes take fire
Posted October 16, 2017 6:16 a.m. EDT
JERUSALEM (CNN) — Israel's military says its warplanes struck a Syrian anti-aircraft battery near Damascus on Monday after the battery fired on its planes.
An Israeli army spokesman said Israeli planes were conducting routine reconnaissance over Lebanon near the Syrian border when an anti-aircraft missile was launched at the Israeli jets.
A few hours later, Israeli aircraft struck the battery, located 50 kilometers east of Damascus.
Israeli army spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said none of the aircraft were hit and all returned to their bases safely.
Initial reports suggested the battery was "incapacitated" after the attack, Conricus said, indicating its "most important element" was destroyed. The battery can be fixed in the future, Conricus added.
Russia 'informed of attack'
Russia had been informed of the attack in real time, Conricus said.
The Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Shoygu, who is scheduled to arrive in Israel on Monday, will get a full briefing of the strike. Israel and Russia coordinate their military over Syria for deconfliction. The military coordination, touted by both governments, began when Russian forces entered in Syria in late 2015.
Israel has largely stayed out of the fighting in Syria, but has occasionally carried out strikes on Syrian military positions. In September, Israeli jets reportedly struck a Syrian military research facility in northwestern Hama province, killing two army personnel.
Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror said it was the first time Israel has targeted a military center instead of a warehouse or weapons convoy.
Israel has struck Syria "dozens of times" in the past, according to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Most often, these reported strikes target weapons shipments from Syria to Hezbollah in Lebanon.