JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel on Sunday fired missiles toward an unmanned drone that entered Israeli-controlled airspace from Syria and it turned back, the military said in a statement.
“Two Patriot air defense missiles were fired toward a drone which infiltrated Israeli airspace in the central Golan Heights. The drone returned to Syria,” the Israeli army said.
A military spokeswoman said there were no known casualties.
Israel has often responded to errant mortar fire from the civil war in neighboring Syria on the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights with tank and mortar shells and with air strikes, but the use of Patriot anti-aircraft interceptor missiles is unusual.
A Syrian rebel source in the area said the Syrian army had launched a rare air raid on al-Shajara village along the Jordanian border. The village, which is also close to the Israeli frontier, is held by the Shuhada al-Yarmouk group, who are thought to be Islamic State affiliates.
Though formally neutral on the civil war, Israel has frequently pledged to prevent shipments of advanced weaponry to Lebanon’s Iranian-backed Hezbollah group, whose fighters have been allied with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Two months ago, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel had launched dozens of strikes in Syria.
The Golan Heights is a strategic plateau that Israel captured from Syria in the 1967 Middle East, and annexed in a move that has not won international recognition.
Additional reporting by Suleiman al-Khalidi in Amman, Writing by Ori Lewis; Editing by Andrew Bolton