Israel shoots down Iranian-made Hezbollah drone


JERUSALEM: Israel´s military fired a Patriot missile on Tuesday to bring down what it said was an Iranian-made drone operated by Hezbollah on a reconnaissance mission over the Golan Heights.

The drone took off from a Damascus military airport before entering the demilitarised zone approaching the Israeli-controlled part of the Golan Heights, Israeli military spokesman Jonathan Conricus told AFP.

"We scrambled fighter jets but they did not engage the UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle)," Conricus said.

"It was instead shot down by one Patriot missile that was fired by Israeli air defence soldiers."

He said details of the drone were still being evaluated, including whether or not it was armed. It fell in the buffer zone between the Israeli- and Syrian-controlled parts of the Golan.

Israel and Syria are still technically at war, though the armistice line on the Golan Heights had remained largely quiet for decades until civil war erupted in Syria in 2011.

Israel seized 1,200 square kilometres (460 square miles) of the Golan Heights from Syria in the Six-Day War of 1967 and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the international community.

In April, Israel used a Patriot missile to shoot down what it identified as "a target" over the Golan Heights, with Israeli media reports saying it was a drone.

It has also seen regular spillover fire from the conflict in Syria and acknowledges carrying out dozens of air strikes there to stop advanced arms deliveries to Hezbollah .

Earlier this month, Syria´s army accused Israeli warplanes of hitting one of its positions, killing two people in an attack that a monitor said targeted a site where the regime allegedly produces chemical weapons.

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