Israel scrambles warplanes to intercept ‘Syrian’ birds
(AFP) Israeli fighter pilots scrambled warplanes on Friday after radar spotted a potential airborne enemy flying from Syria only to discover the culprits were migratory birds, army radio reported.
Israeli radar picked up the birds over the Syrian border but officers were unable to rule them out as enemy aircraft from the screen, the radio said.
Tensions have soared on Israel’s northern border with Syria since Damascus said its air defences fired on Israeli warplanes that dropped munitions deep inside its territory in the early hours of September 6.
The Israeli government has maintained a total blackout on the operation, but the army radio said that military commanders were preferring not to take any risk.
A military official quoted by the radio emphasised that false alerts are common and warplanes are frequently scrambled to head off any precaution.
Israel and Syria are technically at war and the last round of peace negotiations collapsed in 2000, largely over the fate of the Golan Heights which Israel captured from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed in 1981.
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