Syrian Air Defenses Hit Israeli Plane, Shoot Down Missiles: State-Run Media

July 8, 2018 Updated: July 8, 2018

Syrian military air defenses struck an Israeli warplane and shot down Israeli missiles targeting the T4 air base in Homs province in response to an act of “aggression” on Sunday night, Syrian state media claimed.

According to state-run SANA, “Syrian air forces intercepted an Israeli aggression and downed a number of missiles which were targeting T-4 airport in Homs.”

The agency said that Syrian forces “hit one of the attacking warplanes and forced the others to leave the airspaces (sic).”

Other reports, including one from the AFP news agency, indicated that the Israeli airstrikes hit the base.  Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told the agency that “Iranian and pro-regime fighters” were killed at the base.

The Jerusalem Post reported that four to six rockets hit the T4 air base as well as the areas around the base.  Syrian opposition forces told the outlet that the air strikes on the base left nine dead.

Damascus, as well as its allies Iran and Russia, said Israel was responsible for an April 9 air strike on the same Homs base, an attack that killed seven Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) members. Tehran vowed at the time to respond.

In May, Israel said it attacked Tehran’s military infrastructure in Syria, accusing Iranian forces of firing rockets at the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, in the most extensive military exchange between the two foes.

An Israeli-Iranian showdown also flared over Syria in February, when Israel said an armed drone coming from the T4 base penetrated its airspace. Israel blew up the drone and carried out a raid on Syrian air defenses, in which one of its F-16 jets was downed.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said that Israel does not comment on foreign reports, Reuters reported on Sunday night.

Reuters contributed to this report.