Syrian reports claim Israeli aircraft struck auto near border, killing driver

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Tel Aviv Syria tried to shoot down a squadron of Israeli warplanes that had carried out an airstrike near the desert city of Palmyra, in the most serious confrontation between the two countries for several years. That could make it harder for Israel to prevent weapons being smuggled from Syria to the militant group Hezbollah in neighboring Lebanon. According to the Syrian military, one of the Israeli jets was shot down over the occupied Golan Heights while another was damaged. Several anti-aircraft missiles were launched from Syria following the mission and IDF Aerial Defence Systems intercepted one of the missiles.

In a rare confirmation, the Israeli army said in a statement that "a number" of its warplanes had struck positions inside Syrian territory.

Israel's Channel Two reported that the strikes had targeted an arms shipment bound for Lebanon's Shia Hezbollah group in northern Syria.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) on Friday confirmed its first operational use of the advanced Arrow missile defense system, which it said was used to shoot down a Syrian anti-aircraft missile that was sacked at an Israeli jet.

"That's how it was yesterday and that's how we shall continue to act", he added.

Lieberman said he did not wish "to interfere in the Syrian civil war or provoke a confrontation with the Russians" but that Israel's security would remain his top priority.

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It was an unusual confirmation by the Jewish state of air raids inside Syria.

In April 2016, Netanyahu admitted for the first time that Israel had attacked dozens of convoys transporting weapons in Syria destined for Hezbollah, which fought a 2006 war with Israel and is now battling alongside the Damascus regime.

Although Israel has operated with relative immunity in Syria, Russian-supplied anti-aircraft missile systems - including most recently S300 launchers have threatened to complicate Israel's freedom of action.

It also supports the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad, committing thousands of fighters to battle alongside Assad's forces. Israeli leaders have stated that since then, Hezbollah has built up and improved its range of rocket arsenal that can now strike deep inside Israel.

One missile was intercepted by Israel's Arrow missile defense battery, military officials said, in the first reported use of the advanced system.