Israel's Arrow anti-missile system 'in first hit'2

By Sarah Morris - March 17, 2017

Israel has shot down a Syrian missile using its most advanced anti-missile system for the first time, Israeli media say.A surface-to-air missile (SAM) was intercepted using the Arrow system, designed to stop long-range ballistic missiles, reports say.And in a rare admission, Israel said it had targeted several sites in Syria.The intercepted SAM is reported to have come down in Jordan. Two others are said to have landed in Israel.There were no reports of any injuries.

his episode is unusual on a number of counts. It is rare for Israel to admit to air strikes in Syria though there have been reports of at least four similar raids against Hezbollah weapons shipments since the start of December of last year.

This also looks to be the first operational use of Israel's Arrow anti-ballistic missile system - launched possibly at an errant Syrian surface-to-air missile - that might have landed in Israeli territory.

The incident - not least because the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) statement has made it "official" - represents a serious escalation in tensions between Israel and Syria.

It comes less than 10 days after the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Moscow for talks with Vladimir Putin. Russian radars and aircraft control a significant slice of Syrian air space.

It's a signal perhaps to all concerned that if weapons supplies to Hezbollah continue, then Israel is ready to escalate its air campaign.