The Israeli military shot down a Syrian fighter jet after it ventured into Israeli airspace, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) confirmed Tuesday afternoon.
Israel launched two Patriot surface-to-air missiles at the plane after the Russian-made Syrian Sukhoi fighter jet entered about one mile into Israeli territory. The plane suffered a direct hit and crashed in the Yarmouk area in Syria.
Two Patriot missiles were launched at a Syrian Sukhoi fighter jet that infiltrated about 1 mile into Israeli airspace. The IDF monitored the fighter jet, which was then intercepted by the Patriot missiles. pic.twitter.com/owL4Pm7zER
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) July 24, 2018
“It was shot down and it crashed,” IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus confirmed. “”We do not have any information so far about the pilots. I do not know of any reports of parachutes being spotted, and we do not know if any pilots have been retrieved.”
“The only thing we know about the aircraft is that it crashed, most likely in the southern part of the Syrian Golan Heights,” he added.
Photos and video of the smoke trail left by the Patriot missile interception have surfaced on social media.
— Anna Ahronheim (@AAhronheim) July 24, 2018
— Amichai Stein (@AmichaiStein1) July 24, 2018
Syrian and Russian news outlets have reported that at least one of the pilots in the two-seat plane was killed in the missile strike. The Jerusalem Post reports that the second pilot may have ejected from the aircraft, and he is still missing
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later confirmed that Israel shot down the Syrian fighter jet. He added that it took off from Syria’s T-4 military base, which is known to be used by Iranian regime forces.
“Our air defense systems identified a Syrian Air Force plane, taking off from the Syrian air base T-4 and penetrating Israel. This is a gross violation of the 1974 separation agreements between Israel and Syria. I made it clear that we would not accept any such violation, we would not get any intrusion into our territory, either from the ground or from the air,” Netanyahu said in a statement.
In April, Israel launched a series of strikes at the T-4 base and blew up a hangar that was used for Iranian drones and missiles. Israel last shot down a Syrian fighter jet in 2014, when it crossed about half a mile into Israeli airspace.