Syrian reports claim Israeli aircraft struck vehicle near border, killing driver

A Syrian military statement said four Israeli warplanes violated Syrian airspace - flying into Syria through Lebanese territory - and targeted a military position in central Syria.

This account was promptly disputed by the Israelis, who claimed that none of their planes were damaged.

It was a rare admittance by the Israeli Air Force (IAF) that it carried out strikes on Syria, according to the Times of Israel.

Although Israel has operated with relative immunity in Syria, Russian-supplied anti-aircraft missile systems - including most recently S300 launchers have threatened to complicate Israel's freedom of action. Speaking on public radio on Sunday Lieberman said: "The next time the Syrians use their air defence systems against our planes we will destroy them without the slightest hesitation".

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Israel has been largely unaffected by the Syrian civil war raging next door, suffering only sporadic incidents of spillover fire that Israel has generally dismissed as tactical errors by the Syrian army. The advanced program is set to intercept long-range missiles, working in combination with Iron Dome, which is created to protect from short-range threats, and other defense programs.

Over the past five years, Israeli jets have from time-to-time struck what Israeli military analysts describe as weapons caches and convoys of arms being transferred from Syrian stockpiles to the Lebanon-based Shiite militia Hezbollah, an Iranian proxy fighting alongside troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The Israeli military denied that any planes had been struck.

"Overnight. aircraft targeted several targets in Syria", an Israeli army statement said. None of the missiles struck the jets, but one was intercepted by a missile defense system north of Jerusalem, Haaretz reports, adding there were no Israeli casualties in the incident. However, Israel's Arrow defence system is created to intercept long-range ballistic missiles high in the stratosphere, so it remained unclear why the system would have been used in this particular incident.

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It rarely comments on such operations and the military statement detailing the raid and comments confirming the operation by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were highly unusual.

Presumably, the two leaders discussed Israel's commitment to defending its northern border against attacks by Hezbollah or Islamic groups in Syria, which now includes ISIS. At least one of the Syrian missiles was intercepted by Israel's cutting-edge "Arrow" antimissile system, Israeli media reported.

The group said it was an Israeli drone that had carried out the strike.

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