Several rounds of code red sirens were heard in the Golan Heights Saturday during early morning hours.
Saturday’s events began when an alarm sounded at 4:25am in Beit She’an and the Gilboa and Emek HaMa’ayanot Regional Councils. The IDF initially said the alarm was not triggered by fire directed at Israel, and later released a statement elaborating on the events that transpired.
“Using a fighter jet, the IDF successfully intercepted an Iranian drone launched from Syria that infiltrated Israeli territory,” the message said. “The aircraft was picked up by air defense systems at an early stage and was under surveillance until it was downed.
“In retaliation, the IDF attacked Iranian targets in Syria. Alarms sounding in the Golan Heights were a result of Syrian antiaircraft fire. The incident is still ongoing. The IDF will continue to operate against any attempt to infiltrate Israeli airspace and will act with grave measures to prevent the violation of Israeli sovereignty.”
The army’s announcement further said that, “The Iranian drone was downed in Israeli territory and is in our possession. As a result, its capture triggered alarms in the region. We have attacked the Iranian trailer from which the drone was launched. The assault was complex and surgical. The target was destroyed.
“In the course of the incident, pilots of an F-16 initiated an ejection protocol from their helicopter, which was downed in the Beit Netofa Valley region. The pilots are in IDF hands, and in good physical condition. The reason for the ejection is as yet unclear. In addition, a Syrian antiaircraft missile landed in the Golan Heights.”
The army’s Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot concluded a status evaluation at 7am with the air force. The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit added, “Iran is dragging the entire region into an adventure whose end is shrouded in darkness. It was a grievous violation of Israeli sovereignty by Iran. Anyone involved in the drone’s launch was targeted.”
The Israel Air Force’s helicopter crashed near the Harduf kibbutz. The police said, “An IDF aircraft crashed in open land near Mitzpe Harduf, causing no casualties or damage in the community. Policemen are blocking the roads leading to the area.”
Syrian television, meanwhile, quoted a “military source” in saying that, “Israel carried out new aggression early morning against one of the army bases in the country’s center, and our air defense mechanisms resisted and hit more than one plane.”
Residents of the Golan Heights had been informed they can leave the shelters but should remain on high alert and follow future instructions.
“The IDF will continue to operate against attempts to infiltrate Israeli airspace and will act with determination to prevent any violations of Israel’s sovereignty,” an IDF spokesperson said on Saturday morning in regards to the strikes.