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Russian S-300 Air Defense System Targets Israeli Jets in Syria: Report 

A Russian S-300 air defense system fired at Israeli Air Force jets as they returned from an air operation in Syria, The Times of Israel reported, citing Channel 13.

The aircraft returned unscathed as the system’s radar couldn’t lock in on the jets.

The unprecedented incident took place on Friday night near the northwestern Syrian city of Masyaf in retaliation for the Israeli air operation, which resulted in five dead and seven injured, the outlet wrote, citing a Syrian state news agency. 

Six Killed in Israeli Attack

Other Syrian outlets claimed that the Israeli air bombardment killed six crew members of the Russian Pantsir air defense system trying to down the aircraft, according to The Times of Israel.

The Israeli government has not commented on the incident or the air operation, but satellite images of the area showed a damaged underground facility. 

The Israeli news outlet reported that the targeted area was “thought to be used as a base for Iranian forces and pro-Iranian militias,” and has been struck multiple times. 

Israel-Russia Agreement

In previous incidents, Israeli aircraft have not encountered a Russian S-300 air defense system, which is operated by Russian forces, the outlet wrote, citing Channel 13

The two countries reportedly have an understanding to avoid targeting each other in Syria, including establishing a hotline. 

Under the informal agreement, Israel informs Russia prior to carrying out operations inside Syrian territory. In return, Israeli forces do not need to seek permission from Moscow to attack targets in Syria.

Deteriorating Relationship Over Ukraine

Israel has been carrying out air strikes against arms shipments bound for the Iran-backed Hezbollah militant group inside Syrian territory since 2011 when civil war broke out. It also targets Russian-backed Syrian government positions.

The incident occurred amid a deterioration in relations between the two countries over the Ukraine invasion, as Israel has increased its criticism of the human rights violations committed by Russian forces in Ukraine.

Jerusalem has also registered its displeasure over growing anti-semitism in Russia, including recent comments by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in which he claimed that Adolf Hitler “was part Jewish.”

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