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Posted at: Mar 20, 2017, 10:50 AM; last updated: Mar 20, 2017, 6:56 PM (IST)

Israeli Defence Minister threatens to destroy Syrian air defences

Russia summons Israeli envoy

  • MOSCOW: The Russian Foreign Ministry summoned Israel's Ambassador to Moscow to protest an Israeli military strike near the Syrian city of Palmyra, news agency Interfax quoted a ministry official as saying on Monday. Ambassador Gary Koren was called for discussions at the ministry last Friday, the official said. Last week Syria's army high command said Israeli jets had breached Syrian air space and attacked a military target near Palmyra, in what it described as an act of aggression that aided Islamic State. — Reuters
Israeli Defence Minister threatens to destroy Syrian air defences
Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Liberman. AFP

Jerusalem (Israel), March 20

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Liberman has warned that the country will destroy Syria’s air defense system if it fires an anti-aircraft missile at Israeli aircraft again.

“The next time the Syrians use their air defense systems against our airplanes, we will destroy all of them without thinking twice.” CNN quoted Liberman as saying on Israel public radio on Sunday.

His threat comes after Syria fired anti-aircraft missiles at Israeli military jets overnight Thursday into Friday.

The Syrian military said the jets struck a military site near Palmyra, while Israel says they targeted a weapons shipment to Iran-backed Hezbollah. Syria claims their missiles downed one Israeli jet and hit another, which Israel rejected as “absolutely untrue.”

Meanwhile, the military actions did not go unnoticed both in the Middle East and further afield as in a sign of Russia’s displeasure with the strike, Moscow summoned Israel’s ambassador to Russia, Gary Koren, less than 24 hours after it happened.

It is the first time in recent years that Moscow has summoned Israel’s envoy over a strike in Syria, and it comes one week after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited to reaffirm coordination between the two sides over Syria.

The two countries established coordination last year to avoid conflicts in Syrian airspace, ostensibly to allow both countries to operate freely.

Israel has long focused on stopping the transfer of weapons from Syria to terror groups. — ANI

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