The incident reportedly occurred on Sunday. The IDF has refused to comment on the reports.
IAF fighter jet (archive) Photo Credit: Yissachar Ruas/TPS
Russian planes forced Israeli fighter jets to leave Lebanon’s airspace on Sunday, Lebanese and Russian media reported on Sunday night.
According to the report, which was based on a number of Lebanese sources, the Su-34 bombers took off from the Hmeimim military airbase on the coastal plain in Syria in order to remove the IAF planes from the neighboring country’s airspace. The Russian planes were later spotted above the Lebanese city of Tripoli.
Eyewitnesses reported that the Su-34 fighter jets were carrying only an internal fuel tank and it is possible that they entered the Lebanese territory during a naval exercise near the shores of Lebanon and Syria due to severe weather conditions in the region.
The Israeli military has declined to comment on the reports, explaining that it does not comment on claims published in foreign media.
On Sunday morning, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel is working to thwart all attempts to move advanced weapons into Lebanon. “We are countering the Iranian military buildup in Syria that targets us and we are also acting against the [attempts to] transfer dangerous weapons from Syria to Lebanon,” Netanyahu stated at the beginning of this week’s government meeting. “All of these weapons are designated for use against the State of Israel, and it’s our right, as part of the right of self-defense, to prevent their production or transfer.”