Preparing for war in the north, Israel boosts air defenses 

Source: Preparing for war in the north, Israel boosts air defenses – Arab-Israeli Conflict – Jerusalem Post

BY ANNA AHRONHEIM
 FEBRUARY 11, 2018 11:41
Some 20 Syrian air defense missiles were fired towards Israeli jets during missions over Syria.
iron dome

 Soldiers stand next to an Iron Dome battery.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

While the Israeli army refused to comment on the reports, witnesses reported seeing a convoy of missile defense batteries heading north near the Israeli-Arab city of Baqa el-Garbiyeh. Other witnesses posted photos of several trucks carrying the batteries on central highways in northern Israel.

Israel’s air defenses currently include the Iron Dome, designed to shoot down short-range rockets; the Arrow system, which intercepts ballistic missiles outside of the Earth’s atmosphere; and the David’s Sling missile defense system, which is designed to intercept tactical ballistic missiles, medium-to-long-range rockets and cruise missiles fired at ranges between 40 to 300 km.

Israel also has Patriot missile batteries stationed in the north of the country and have used them to intercept drones infiltrating into Israeli airspace from Syria. In September, an Iranian-built unmanned aerial vehicle breached the “Bravo line” that marks the Syrian demilitarized zone and was intercepted by an Israeli Patriot anti-ballistic missile launched from a station near the northern city of Safed.

The first use of Arrow occurred in April, when the system was launched to intercept a three surface-to-air missiles Syrian regime air defense fired toward IAF jets.

On Saturday, an Iranian drone, which took off from Syria’s T4 airbase in northern Homs province, flew through Jordanian territory before it infiltrated into Israel. It flew for about a minute and a half in the northern Jordan Valley before it was shot down by a helicopter flown by Lt. Col. “L.”, commander of the 113 squadron.

“The squadron was sent to protect the country’s skies,” L. said. “We identified the aircraft as an Iranian drone, and when it crossed the border, we shot it down into Israeli territory. The squadron is ready and prepared for any task it is given.”

IAF chief of air staff Brigadier General Tomer Bar, the second in command of Israel’s Air Force, said the drone was an advanced model with a low signature that Israel had never intercepted before. It is currently being studied by the IDF.

In retaliation for the incursion, eight Israeli jets took off to strike the drone’s launch site. During the operation, Syrian regime forces fired around 20 anti-aircraft missiles at Israeli jets. The pilots of one of the planes ejected themselves when they recognized that one of the missiles had locked onto their jet.

According to the IDF, Iran and the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guards have been operating at the T4 base “for a long time, backed by Syrian army forces and with the approval of the Syrian regime.”

“Iran has been using the base in recent months for the purpose of transferring weaponry to be used against Israel,” read a statement by the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit. “These actions by Iran at the base are ostensibly carried out under the guise of supporting the fighting against the global Islamic jihad forces, but the actions carried out in the past 24 hours prove that its real concern is direct violent action against Israel.”

“In the Iranian action, all the Israeli warnings against Iranian consolidation in Syria were realized. The attack was initiated and Israel was forced to respond first to the threat in its territory and then to the hostile elements operating from the Syrian territory opposite it.”

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