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In First, Israel’s Arrow-2 System Intercepts Syrian Missile Fired at Israeli Jet

Israel’s Arrow-2 system successfully intercepted a Syrian anti-aircraft missile that was shot at Israeli jets conducting a mission in Syria on Thursday night, the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement. It is the first time that the Arrow-2 system is known to have been used operationally.

The Syrian military claimed that four Israeli fighters carried out a raid against a target near Palmyra, a claim that the Israeli military confirmed, which it rarely does. The IDF stated that anti-aircraft missiles were fired as their jets returned to base, but that “at no point was the safety of IDF aircraft compromised.”

“Several anti-aircraft missiles were launched from Syria following the mission and IDF aerial defense systems intercepted one of the missiles,” the statement also said. Two other missile landed harmlessly in Israel. The missiles had been fired from eastern Syria and traveled over Jordan towards Jerusalem.

The Syrian anti-aircraft missiles, which the Times of Israel reported were likely SA-5s, would not have posed a threat to people on the ground, except where its debris landed. The Arrow-2, which is part of Israel’s three-tiered missile defense system, is designed to intercept intercontinental ballistic missiles emerging from outside the earth’s atmosphere. The Times reported that the use of the Arrow-2 on a more conventional target could suggest “a misidentification of the type of weapon being fired from Syria.”

This is the second time in the last six months that Syria activated its air defense system against an Israeli strike. Last September, Syrian forces fired two missiles at Israeli jets conducting a raid inside Syria, which was carried out in response to mortars that had been fired into Israel.

Israeli leaders have frequently said that they would prevent Hezbollah from obtaining “game-changing” weapons. Raids against Hezbollah targets in Syria are often attributed to Israel, but Israel rarely takes credit for them.

However, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman seemed to have acknowledged an Israeli raid into Syria last December, which he said prevented Hezbollah from obtaining “advanced weapons, military equipment and weapons of mass destruction.”

[Photo: Defense Ministry ]