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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 22 June 2018

Israel shoots downs Syrian drone over Golan Heights

Russian-made craft was on a spying mission over Israeli-held area, military says 

Israeli forces look out over the border fence between the Israeli-occupied side of the Golan Heights and Syria on November 4, 2017. Ammar Awad / Reuters
Israeli forces look out over the border fence between the Israeli-occupied side of the Golan Heights and Syria on November 4, 2017. Ammar Awad / Reuters

The Israeli army said it had shot down a Russian-made Syrian drone carrying out a reconnaissance mission over the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights on Saturday.

The drone was intercepted by a Patriot missile in the demilitarised zone between the Israeli- and Syrian-controlled parts of the Golan, the military said.

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 of the Golan Heights from Syria in 1967 Arab-Israeli War and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the international community.

In September, Israel's military shot down what it said was an Iranian-made drone operated by Lebanese militant group Hizbollah on a reconnaissance mission over the Golan.

Israel has also seen regular spillover fire from the Syrian conflict and acknowledges carrying out dozens of air strikes to stop deliveries of advanced arms to its arch-foe Hezbollah.

The Lebanese militant group is a key backer of Syrian president Bashar Al Assad and has fought alongside his troops against rebel forces.