The IDF downed a Syrian fighter jet, a Russian-made Sukhoi-24, near Quneitra, along the Syrian-Israel border. The plane, which flew into Israeli air space near Tzfat, was initially misidentified as a MiG-21.
At about 9:30 am Tuesday morning, according to the IDF, “A Syrian aircraft infiltrated into Israeli air space. The IDF intercepted the aircraft in mid-flight, using the Patriot air defense system. The circumstances of the incident are being reviewed.”
The Syrian crew parachuted to safety, and landed on the Syrian side of the border.
“The fighter jet crossed into Israeli territory in a very threatening manner,” said Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon. He added, “We can’t allow any source to violate our sovereignty and we’ll respond aggressively to any such attempt, whether it’s a mistake or a purposeful act.”
The IDF followed standard operating procedure when it shot down the invading plane, which had reached 800 meters in Israeli territory before the decision was made to shoot it down. From that moment to impact, one minute and 20 seconds passed before the surface-to-air Patriot missile struck and destroyed the plane.
Civilians in Israel captured the fighter plane’s interception on camera.
Photo by: Pirch / Rotter.net
The last time Israel shot down a Syrian warplane was in 1985. At that time, Israeli pilots were on a surveillance mission over Lebanon when they became involved in a dogfight with two Syrian MiG-23s.
In this case, the Sukhoi-24 was shot down over the Golan Heights while flying at an elevation of 10-14,000 feet — a comfortable height for an air strike, a military source noted.
“A fighter jet can reach the Sea of Galilee (Kinneret) in less than a minute from the position that jet was in, and anywhere else in five,” the IDF senior military official said.
“The discovery, identification and interception of the jet was quickly and professionally executed and the Israeli Air Force stood its guard,” the source added.
The broken parts of the plane landed near Quneitra in Syria. Initial findings indicate the plane was en route to attack rebel forces around the Quneitra crossing, where the Al Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra terror group is currently in control.