The Israeli military said it shot down a Syrian fighter plane that entered Israeli airspace over the Golan Heights Tuesday morning, an act the Syrian government’s official television station said was evidence of the Israel’s support for the Islamic State jihadist group.
Moment ago, a Syrian aircraft infiltrated Israeli airspace. IDF's Patriot air defense system intercepted the aircraft.— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) September 23, 2014
"It was a Russian-made Sukhoi,” an Israeli military spokesman told Reuters.
The aircraft appeared to have entered Israeli airspace over the Golan by accident and did not seem to be aiming at Israeli targets, unnamed IDF sources added.
Unconfirmed photos posted on Twitter by a Syrian opposition group purported to show the downing of the plane:
A rebel-affiliated media organization, the Syrian Media Group, posted this video alleging to show the downing. Rebels can be heard shouting "Allahu Akbar" in the background. TheBlaze is unable to independently authenticate the photos and video.
Syrian state television confirmed that the warplane had been shot down and described the incident as an act of aggression.
Coming just hours after the launching of U.S.-led airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria, Syrian state TV -- which is loyal to President Bashar Assad -- asserted the Israeli downing of the plane was "in the framework of (Israel's) support for the terrorist (Islamic State) and the Nusra Front.”
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said the Syrian plane had approached Israeli territory in a “threatening manner” and crossed the border.
“We’ve clarified this in the past and we’re emphasizing it again now: We won’t allow anybody, whether it’s a state or a terrorist organization, to threaten our security and violate our sovereignty,” the defense minister said according to the Times of Israel. “We will respond forcefully to all attempts of this kind, whether it’s an accident or intentional.”
Militants with the Al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front have been fighting Syrian Army forces on the Golan in recent weeks.
The IDF shot down a Syrian drone on August 31 when it flew near the Quneitra border town on the Golan. Since the civil war began, the occasional shell has been fired into the Israeli side of the Golan.
UN peacekeepers with UNDOF, which monitored the 1974 disengagement agreement between Israel and Syria, have largely abandoned their positions on the Syrian side of the Golan following the abduction of dozens of their troops last month.