Israel used a Patriot missile to shoot down a drone approaching the Golan Heights on the border with Syria on Saturday, the Israel Defense Forces said. Channel Two news on Motzoei Shabbos reported that the IDF had contacted sources in Russian Federation in order to ascertain that the UAV did not belong to Russian Federation before shooting it down. Once the Russians claimed that they were not now operating a UAV in the area, the IDF chose to intercept the aircraft.
Two months ago, the IDF fired a Patriot missile after a drone was nearing Israel's airspace in the same area.
In a statement, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said that Israel "considered the incident a serious violation of our sovereignty and will respond in an appropriate manner to such provocations".
He also called on the Syrian regime to restrain all elements operating from its territory. The drone was apparently a Syrian army drone on an intelligence collection mission, the IDF said.
Israel fears an eventual Assad victory could leave Iran with a permanent garrison in Syria, extending a threat posed from neighbouring Lebanon by the Iranian-backed Hezbollah and has been lobbying Russian Federation and the United States for reassurances that Iranian and Hezbollah forces will not be allowed to deploy near its border or set up bases within Syria.