ISRAELI PLANES HIT TARGETS IN SYRIA
Tel Aviv denies that one of it’s jets has been shot down by Syrian missiles
ISRAELI warplanes struck several targets in Syria early yesterday, prompting retaliatory missile launches, in the most serious incident between the two countries since the Syrian civil war began six years ago.
Syria’s military said it had downed an Israeli plane and hit another as they were carrying out pre-dawn strikes near the famed desert city of Palmyra that it recaptured from jihadists this month.
“Our air defence engaged them and shot down one warplane over occupied territory, hit another one, and forced the rest to flee,” the army said.
The Israeli army denied any planes had been struck.
“(Our) aircraft was at no point compromised,” army spokesman Peter Lerner said.
The Israeli air force said earlier that it had carried out several strikes on Syria overnight, but that none of the ground-to-air missiles fired by Syrian forces in response had hit Israeli aircraft.
It was an unusual confirmation by the Jewish state of air raids inside Syria.
“Overnight... aircraft targeted several targets in Syria,” an Israeli army statement said.
“Several anti-aircraft missiles were launched from Syria following the mission and (army) aerial defence systems intercepted one of the missiles.”
One missile was intercepted north of Jerusalem by Israel’s Arrow air defence system.
Both Israeli and foreign media have reported a number of Israeli airstrikes inside Syria targeting arms convoys of Lebanese militant group Hizbollah, which fought a devastating 2006 war with Israel and is now fighting alongside the Damascus regime.
The missile fire prompted air raid sirens to go off in the Jordan Valley during the night.
In April last year, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu admitted for the first time that Israel had attacked dozens of convoys transporting weapons in Syria destined for Hizbollah.
Israel and Syria are still technically at war, though the border had remained largely quiet for decades until 2011 when the Syrian conflict broke out. AFP
Steed said an unknown number of people had been injured in the exchange of gunfire.
At the time the tanker was taken it was forced to change course and head toward Puntland. The Aris 13 was about 18km off the Somali coast when it was attacked, according to Steed.
He said the vessel was not following the “best practices” put in place to avoid piracy, since it was taking a cost- and time-saving route too close to Somalia’s coastline, was travelling too slowly and was without armed escort.
Village elders in Alula where the hijacked vessel first docked, said the pirates had not made clear demands, but claimed to be driven by anger over illegal fishing. AFP
A relative of a crew member in a ship that was captured by Somali pirates on Monday crying during a meeting with Sri Lankan shipping authorities in Colombo on Thursday. The pirates have released the ship and its crew.