An Israeli Patriot Missile battery shot down an Iranian-built drone over the Golan Heights on Tuesday, just hours before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the UN General Assembly about concerns of Iranian and Hezbollah forces on the Syrian border with Israel.
The Israeli military stated that the Iranian-built drone was launched from Damascus on a reconnaissance mission for Hezbollah and downed it with a Patriot missile as it crossed the Israeli border over the Golan Heights
“As we understand, it was on a reconnaissance mission along the border and the Golan Heights on behalf of Hezbollah,” a military spokesman, Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan Conricus, told reporters. “Our intelligence suggests it was … Iranian-made.”
Asked whether the drone might have been armed, Conricus said that information was not yet available. He said Israeli warplanes had also been scrambled.
Officials from Syria, Hezbollah and Iran had no immediate comment on the incident. The Golan, which Israel captured from Syria in the 1967 conflict, has seen spillover violence from the Syrian civil war. Israel has at times fired to foil what it deemed deliberate cross-border attacks.
The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) has stated repeatedly that they will not allow any violation of Israeli sovereignty nor allow Iranian forces, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad or Shi‘ite militias of any kind to approach the Israeli borders.
Hezbollah has sent drones on intelligence gathering missions in the past in southern Syria, but coming this close to Israeli territory was a new development so it was decided to shoot it down. Entering the demilitarized zone on the Golan is a violation of the Israel-Syria Separation of Forces Agreement from 1974. Israel has controlled the Golan Heights since the 1973 war.
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