Israel threatens to destroy Syrian air defenses if attacked again

By Allen Cone  |  March 19, 2017 at 11:55 AM
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March 19 (UPI) -- Israel's defense minister warned it "will not hesitate" to destroy Syria's air defense systems if its fighter jets are fired at again.

"The next time the Syrians use their air defense systems against our airplanes, we will destroy all of them without thinking twice," Avigdor Liberman said Sunday on Israeli public radio.

On Friday, Syria fired anti-aircraft missiles at Israeli military jets.

Israel says the four jets targeted a weapons shipment to Iran-backed Hezbollah but the Syrian military said the jets struck a military site near Palmyra. Israel said it was "absolutely untrue" that Syria's missiles downed one jet.

Syria accused Israel of supporting the Islamic State.

"Our central problem, and this above and beyond all of the other issues, is the transfer of advanced weapons from Syria to Lebanon," Liberman said. "Every time we identify a transfer like this, we will work to prevent the transfer of game-changing weapons. On this issue there will not be any compromise."

The defense minister said: "We have no interest in intervening in the civil war in Syria, either in favor or against [President Bashar] Assad. We do not want to clash with the Russians."

Liberman also said Israel is "not willing to tolerate any provocation" from the Gaza Strip.

He said: "We will not invest Israeli taxpayer money to invest in electricity and water for the residents of Gaza while they are investing their money into tunnels."

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