Israel’s Arrow Defence System was used for the first time on Thursday night to intercept a Syrian anti-aircraft missile targeted at Israeli Air Force (IAF) fighter jets, after IAF planes struck several targets in Syria – reportedly arms shipments to Hezbollah.
An official IDF statement said that the “IAF aircraft targeted several targets in Syria. Several anti-aircraft missiles were launched from Syria following the mission and IDF Aerial Defence Systems intercepted one of the missiles”. The Arrow Defence System is part of Israel’s multi-layered defence system.
The IDF confirmed that none of its aircraft was damaged during the operation, stating that “at no point was the safety of Israeli civilians or the IAF aircraft compromised”.
The statement came on Friday morning after Syria’s high command claimed to have shot down an IAF jet and damage a second.
Syria alleged that Israel had breached Syrian air space by striking a military target near the city of Palmyra, swearing to retaliate “directly, with all means at its disposal”.
Reports suggest that Israel was targeting shipments of advanced weapons intended to reach Hezbollah in Lebanon. Earlier this week it was reported that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps built underground rocket factories for Hezbollah in Lebanon, allowing Hezbollah to prepare extensively for an attack against Israel.
Yesterday’s incident was the most serious exchange between the two countries since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011.