Israel shoots down Syrian Su-24 fighter over Golan Heights
The Israeli Air Force (IAF) has shot down a Syrian Su-24 supersonic fighter over the Golan Heights, after it entered the Israeli airspace.
IAF said that the Syrian warplane infiltrated approximately 800m into Israeli territory and was shot down by the Aerial Defense Division soldiers using the Patriot air defence system.
"The fragments fell in Syria, while the aircrew most likely used the ejection system and was evacuated for medical treatment."
Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon said the aircraft had crossed into Israel airspace in a threatening manner, and even crossed the border.
Israeli Air Force intelligence unit former head Brigadier General Ram Shmueli was quoted The New York Times as saying: "We cannot tolerate any penetration of the Israeli airspace, so we had to shut him down even though we understand that his intention was not to attack us."
The aircraft had flown out of the Saikal Air Base, north-east of Damascus, to conduct airstrikes on rebel targets in Quneitra, on the Syrian part of the Golan Heights, The Jerusalem Post reported.
While Syria branded the incident as an act of 'aggression,' one of its military officials alleged that the attack came "in the framework of (Israel's) support for the terrorist (Islamic State) and the Nusra Front."
However, an unnamed IAF official said: "We don't have any interest in supporting the rebels. This is a border; any aircraft that crosses it will be shot down."
The incident came hours after the US and its Arab allies, including Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, launched airstrikes on potential Islamic State (IS) targets in northern and eastern Syria.
The strikes destroyed multiple IS targets, including fighters, training compounds, headquarters and command-and-control facilities, storage facilities, supply trucks and armed vehicles in the cities of Raqqa, Deir al-Zor and Hasakah, and Abu Kamal.
At least 70 IS militants and ten civilians, including women and children, were killed by US-led airstrikes, according to media reports.
Image: A Syrian Su-24 fighter was shot down by Patriot battery over the Golan Heights. Photo: courtesy of IAF.