Israel destroys half of Syrian Air Defenses - source

Israel destroys half of Syrian Air Defenses - source

Israel estimates that it destroyed nearly half of Syria's air defense system in a retaliatory air force sortie after one of its F-16 fighter jets was shot down by a Syrian missile, according to a military assessment provided to local news media.

The fighting broke out Saturday after an Iranian drone, launched from a site controlled by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard, flew into Israeli airspace, Los Angeles Times reported.

Israel said it hit eight Syrian army targets and four Iranian sites in Syria, including an Iranian command trailer at the so-called T4 base, near the ancient city of Palmyra, from which the drone was launched early Saturday. Israeli Apache helicopters downed the drone, and four F-16 jets were dispatched into Syrian territory to bomb the site from which it was launched.

One Israeli F-16 was hit by Syrian fire as it returned to Israel from the mission, leading to the massive Israeli retaliation.

The deputy commander of Israel's air force, Brig. Gen. Tomer Bar, said earlier that Israel's aerial reprisal was "the biggest and most significant attack the air force has conducted against Syrian air defenses" since the 1982 Lebanon War.