Israel has boosted its air defense in its northern region following the recent confrontation with Syria and Iran that led to the loss of an F-16i fighter jet, warning Iran to stay out.
Witnesses reported seeing a convoy of missile-defense batteries heading north near the Israeli-Arab city of Baka al-Gharbiya.
Israel proceeded to carry out significant air raids in Syria on Saturday,specifically what it described as Iranian targets.
The raids came after an Israeli F16 fighter was shot down by Syrian air defenses in what was Israel’s first loss of a warplane in battle since 1982. The pilot escaped but was seriously wounded..
“We inflicted on Saturday a heavy blow to Iranian and Syrian forces,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the start of Sunday’s cabinet meeting.
“We made clear to everyone that our rules of engagement will not change in any way. Israel will continue to harm anyone who tries to harm us. This was our policy and this will remain our policy.”
Other Israeli ministers spoke of refusing to accept Iran getting involved militarily in Syria. While several analysts said they did not expect a further escalation in the coming days, some spoke of the possibility of the Syrian war entering a new phase.
Israel’s air defenses currently include the Iron Dome, designed to shoot down short-range rockets; the Arrow system, which intercepts ballistic missiles outside of the Earth’s atmosphere; and the David’s Sling missile-defense system.
According to the Israeli military, the confrontation began with the drone entering Israeli airspace before being intercepted by a combat helicopter over the city of Beit Shean, near the Jordanian border.
The drone incident led to a barrage of Israeli airstrikes on Iranian and Syrian targets in Syria. Syria responded with heavy anti-aircraft fire. It set off multiple warning sirens in Israel and managed to down the Israeli F-16 in Israeli territory.
Israel is technically at war with Syria. It occupies a swathe of the Golan Heights that it seized in the Six-Day War of 1967. That territory was later annexed in a move never recognized by the international community.
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