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Israel Shoots Down Syrian Jet It Says Flew Into its Airspace

Time logo Time 24/07/2018 Associated Press

US and Israeli army officers stand in front a US Patriot missile defence system during the Israeli-US military exercise "Juniper Cobra" at the Hatzor Airforce Base in Israel on March 8, 2018. Exercise Juniper Cobra is a five-day combined military exercise between Israel and the United States. / AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images) © JACK GUEZ—AFP/Getty Images US and Israeli army officers stand in front a US Patriot missile defence system during the Israeli-US military exercise "Juniper Cobra" at the Hatzor Airforce Base in Israel on March 8, 2018. Exercise Juniper Cobra is a five-day combined military exercise between Israel and the United States. / AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images) BEIRUT — Israel shot down a Syrian fighter jet it said had breached its airspace on Tuesday, as Syrian forces reached the Golan Heights frontier for the first time in seven years.

The Israeli military said it monitored the advance of the Syrian Sukhoi fighter jet and shot it down with a pair of Patriot missiles after it penetrated Israeli airspace by about two kilometers (1.2 miles).

A war jet flies above Syria near the Israeli Syrian border as it is seen from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, Israel July 23, 2018. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun © Catalyst Images A war jet flies above Syria near the Israeli Syrian border as it is seen from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, Israel July 23, 2018. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun Syrian forces have been battling rebels and Islamic State militants at the frontier with Israel in recent weeks.

Tuesday marked the first time government forces reached the border fence with the U.N.’s Disengagement Observer Force at the edge of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

A picture taken on July 23, 2018 from the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights shows Israelis looking out across the border watching as warplanes backing a Syrian-government offensive carry out air strikes in the southwestern Syrian province of Daraa. - Israel has been on high alert since June 19, when Syrian government forces launched a Russia-backed offensive to retake Quneitra and Daraa and provinces, adjacent respectively to the Israeli-held section of the Golan and to Jordan, and have regained control of most of these two provinces through a combination of deadly bombardment and Moscow-brokered surrender deals. (Photo by JALAA MAREY / AFP)        (Photo credit should read JALAA MAREY/AFP/Getty Images) © Catalyst Images A picture taken on July 23, 2018 from the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights shows Israelis looking out across the border watching as warplanes backing a Syrian-government offensive carry out air strikes in the southwestern Syrian province of Daraa. - Israel has been on high alert since June 19, when Syrian government forces launched a Russia-backed offensive to retake Quneitra and Daraa and provinces, adjacent respectively to the Israeli-held section of the Golan and to Jordan, and have regained control of most of these two provinces through a combination of deadly bombardment and Moscow-brokered surrender deals. (Photo by JALAA MAREY / AFP) (Photo credit should read JALAA MAREY/AFP/Getty Images) It was the first time Israel shot down a Syrian jet in four years.

Israel’s military said there had been an increase in internal fighting in Syria since the morning hours, including intensified activity by the Syrian Air Force.

A picture taken on July 23, 2018 from the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights shows a smoke plume rising during air strikes backing a Syrian-government-led offensive in the southwestern province of Daraa. - Israel has been on high alert since June 19, when Syrian government forces launched a Russia-backed offensive to retake Quneitra and Daraa and provinces, adjacent respectively to the Israeli-held section of the Golan and to Jordan, and have regained control of most of these two provinces through a combination of deadly bombardment and Moscow-brokered surrender deals. (Photo by JALAA MAREY / AFP)        (Photo credit should read JALAA MAREY/AFP/Getty Images) © Catalyst Images A picture taken on July 23, 2018 from the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights shows a smoke plume rising during air strikes backing a Syrian-government-led offensive in the southwestern province of Daraa. - Israel has been on high alert since June 19, when Syrian government forces launched a Russia-backed offensive to retake Quneitra and Daraa and provinces, adjacent respectively to the Israeli-held section of the Golan and to Jordan, and have regained control of most of these two provinces through a combination of deadly bombardment and Moscow-brokered surrender deals. (Photo by JALAA MAREY / AFP) (Photo credit should read JALAA MAREY/AFP/Getty Images) Minutes before the reported shootdown, Syria’s state-run Al-Ikhbariya TV was broadcasting footage from the fence demarcating the U.N. buffer zone between Syrian and Israeli forces inside the Golan Heights. A U.N. observer post could be seen just on the other side of the fence.

The camera showed an Israeli post 400 meters (440 yards) away.

A picture taken on July 23, 2018 from the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights shows Israelis looking out across the border watching as warplanes backing a Syrian-government offensive carry out air strikes in the southwestern Syrian province of Daraa. - Israel has been on high alert since June 19, when Syrian government forces launched a Russia-backed offensive to retake Quneitra and Daraa and provinces, adjacent respectively to the Israeli-held section of the Golan and to Jordan, and have regained control of most of these two provinces through a combination of deadly bombardment and Moscow-brokered surrender deals. (Photo by JALAA MAREY / AFP)        (Photo credit should read JALAA MAREY/AFP/Getty Images) © Catalyst Images A picture taken on July 23, 2018 from the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights shows Israelis looking out across the border watching as warplanes backing a Syrian-government offensive carry out air strikes in the southwestern Syrian province of Daraa. - Israel has been on high alert since June 19, when Syrian government forces launched a Russia-backed offensive to retake Quneitra and Daraa and provinces, adjacent respectively to the Israeli-held section of the Golan and to Jordan, and have regained control of most of these two provinces through a combination of deadly bombardment and Moscow-brokered surrender deals. (Photo by JALAA MAREY / AFP) (Photo credit should read JALAA MAREY/AFP/Getty Images) Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in 1967. The U.N. deployed a peacekeeping force between the two sides in 1974.

It is the first time government forces have taken up positions along the frontier since an uprising against President Bashar Assad swept through the country in 2011. Islamic State militants later seized territory from rebels along the frontier region.

A picture taken on July 23, 2018 from the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights shows an explosion caused by air strikes backing a Syrian-government-led offensive in the southwestern province of Daraa, as anti-aircraft countermeasures are fired back from the ground. - Israel has been on high alert since June 19, when Syrian government forces launched a Russia-backed offensive to retake Quneitra and Daraa and provinces, adjacent respectively to the Israeli-held section of the Golan and to Jordan, and have regained control of most of these two provinces through a combination of deadly bombardment and Moscow-brokered surrender deals. (Photo by JALAA MAREY / AFP)        (Photo credit should read JALAA MAREY/AFP/Getty Images) © Catalyst Images A picture taken on July 23, 2018 from the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights shows an explosion caused by air strikes backing a Syrian-government-led offensive in the southwestern province of Daraa, as anti-aircraft countermeasures are fired back from the ground. - Israel has been on high alert since June 19, when Syrian government forces launched a Russia-backed offensive to retake Quneitra and Daraa and provinces, adjacent respectively to the Israeli-held section of the Golan and to Jordan, and have regained control of most of these two provinces through a combination of deadly bombardment and Moscow-brokered surrender deals. (Photo by JALAA MAREY / AFP) (Photo credit should read JALAA MAREY/AFP/Getty Images)
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