An Israeli drone strike reportedly killed a member of a Syrian pro-regime militia Sunday afternoon, amid spiraling tensions between Jerusalem and Damascus.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that Israeli aircraft struck a truck driving near the town of Khan Arnabeh in the Quneitra province, on the road to Damascus.
“The national defense force mourns with pride and sorrow the news of the martyrdom of the heroic fighter Yasser Hussien Assayed,” the group said in a Facebook post.
The group, reportedly set up with the held of Lebanese terror group Hezbollah, published four pictures it said were from the scene of the alleged airstrike.
The Palestinian daily al Quds earlier on Sunday cited Syrian sources who said the Syrian army had targeted an Israeli drone in Quneitra, causing the drone to retreat.
The head of the IDF warned Beirut Sunday that it would continue to thwart terror group Hezbollah and any future war with the Shiite group would take place on Lebanese territory, as tensions rose over airstrikes against the group in Syria.
In a “future war, there will be a clear address: the state of Lebanon and the terror groups operating in its territory and under its authority,” IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot said during a ceremony at an army base in northern Israel.
On Friday, Israeli planes struck deep inside Lebanon to thwart an arms transfer to the terror group. On Sunday, another IDF strike was reported in the Syrian Golan against a fighter for a pro-regime militia with links to Hezbollah.
“In Lebanon, Hezbollah continues to arm itself and strengthen itself,” he said at the ceremony marking the change in the head of the Northern Command. “We will continue to act divisively to thwart these efforts and will continue to prevent the transfer of advanced weapons to Hezbollah,” he said.
Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Sunday threatened to destroy Syrian air defence systems after they fired ground-to-air missiles at Israeli warplanes carrying out strikes.
"The next time the Syrians use their air defence systems against our planes we will destroy them without the slightest hesitation," Lieberman said on Israeli public radio.
Israeli warplanes hit several targets in Syria on Friday, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying the strikes targeted weapons bound for Lebanon's Shiite Hezbollah movement.
Syria's military said it had downed one of the Israeli planes and hit another as they were carrying out the pre-dawn strikes near the famed desert city of Palmyra that it recaptured from jihadists this month.
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has threatened to destroy Syria's air defense systems if they target the Israeli jets once again.
"The next time the Syrians use their air defense systems against our planes we will destroy them without the slightest hesitation. Israel's security is above everything else; there will be no compromise," Lieberman said on Israeli public radio on Sunday.
His remarks come after Israeli warplanes had attacked several targets in Syria overnight on Thursday.
On Friday, Israeli Intelligence and Atomic Energy Minister Yisrael Katz confirmed the attacks saying that it targeted a convoy which was supposedly carrying weapons to the Shiite Hezbollah movement.
"The Israeli Air Force carried out airstrikes on a convoy in Syria, carrying a batch of weapons for Hezbollah," Katz said in a statement, distributed by his press service.
Also on Friday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acknowledged Israeli air strikes in Syria, making a "rare statement on the matter," according to Israeli media. He defended Israel's right to protect itself from the transfer of advanced weapons to Hezbollah, which Israel classifies as a terrorist organization,
"Israel does not usually confirm or deny individual raids, but it may have been led to do so this time by the circumstances of the incident," Israeli international news TV channel i24 News reported on the issue.
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