Netanyahu says strike on Syrian battery "needed" to protect Israeli planes

Source: Xinhua| 2017-10-17 01:27:53|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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JERUSALEM, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday that the Israeli airstrike on a Syrian anti-aircraft missile battery earlier was "needed" to protect Israeli planes.

Earlier, Israeli army said in a statement that Israeli war jets were flying as "routine reconnaissance activity" over neighboring Lebanon when targeted by a Syrian anti-aircraft missile.

In response, Israel's air forces bombed the anti-aircraft battery, located about 50 km east of Damascus, with four bombs.

Netanyahu later warned that Israel would respond whenever its planes were attacked.

"Our policy is clear, anyone who tries to hurt us, we will hurt them," he said. "Today, they tried to hit our planes. This is not acceptable."

According to Netanyahu, the air forces "acted with precision, swiftness and destroyed what needed to be destroyed."

"We will continue to act in the arena as much as needed to defend Israel's security," he added.

The statement came after Syria warned of "dangerous repercussions of the repetitive aggressive attempts from Israel."

According to Syrian military, Israel's jets breached Lebanon's air space at first, prompting a defensive response. The missile has hit one of the Israeli jets, "forcing it to flee."

Israel's Walla news site reported that Israel had informed Russia, President Bashar Assad's ally, just before the attack.

The statement was a rare case in which Israel had officially acknowledged its military operations in Syria.

It is widely believed that Israel often carried out airstrikes on convoys and arsenals in Syria which are allegedly directed to Hezbollah, a Lebanese Shiite militia.