(NEW YORK TIMES) JERUSALEM — The Israeli military said Tuesday morning that it had shot down a Syrian fighter jet that had “infiltrated into Israeli airspace,” the first such incident in at least a quarter of a century.
Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, a military spokesman, said the Patriot air-defense system had intercepted a Russian-made Sukhoi warplane over the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights around 9:15 a.m. Brig. Gen. Ram Shmueli, a former head of intelligence in the Israeli Air Force now serving in the reserves, said that the pilots of the jet, which he identified as an Su-24, had ejected safely in Syrian territory.
“We cannot tolerate any penetration of the Israeli airspace, so we had to shut him down even though we understand that his intention was not to attack us,” General Shmueli told reporters in a conference call, saying the aircraft had penetrated half a mile into Israeli territory.
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