The IDF reported that its "aerial defense systems intercepted one of the missiles" and stressed that "at no point was the safety of Israeli civilians or aircraft compromised".

The Syrian army said that it had shot down one Israeli jet and damaged another, a claim that Israel denied.

In a rare communique, in which Israel took responsibility for the usually clandestine airstrikes, the Israeli Air Force confirmed that its warplanes had struck several targets in neighboring Syria.

Israeli jets have been hitting targets in Syria since at least 2013, when U.S. officials told CNN they believed IDF jets had struck inside Syrian territory. Late a year ago, IDF troops operating in the disputed Golan region came under fire from militants of the ISIS affiliate Khalid ibn al-Walid Army, Israeli military spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said.

In 2015, a reported Israeli airstrike near Quneitra killed Hezbollah commander Jihad Mughniyeh, amid claims that he had been setting up a base from which to shoot rockets at Israel.

Nasrallah said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had recently visited Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow to express his deep concern over the likely collapse of Daesh in Syria since such a development would mark a great triumph for the resistance front in the Middle East region.

A source in the Israeli defense establishment told CNN's Sara Sidner at the time: "We will do whatever is necessary to stop the transfer of weapons from Syria to terrorist organizations".

Israel and Syria are still technically at war, though the border had remained largely quiet for decades until 2011 when the Syrian conflict began.

But the Israeli media said the airstrikes were targeting Hezbollah-bond weapons shipment.

Witnesses cited by the press also reported two explosions that could have been caused by the launch of the anti-missile system. The system was developed with financial backing from the U.S.in response to Arab states' long-range surface-to-surface missiles.

The Syrian army has been on a crushing offensive in the eastern countryside of Homs against the IS group, succeeding recently to capture the old city of Palmyra and moving forward toward capturing key gas fields in the countryside of that area.

In 1981 Israel annexed a large part of the Golan Heights which it seized from Syria in the 1967 Six Day War.


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