Israel fires at Syrian missiles on Golan Heights: army

A handout picture released by the Israel Defence Ministry on December 21, 2015 shows tests being undertaken for Israel's David Sling's missile defence system (AFP Photo/HO)
A handout picture released by the Israel Defence Ministry on December 21, 2015 shows tests being undertaken for Israel's David Sling's missile defence system (AFP Photo/HO)

Jerusalem (AFP) - Israel on Monday said its air defences fired at rockets that approached its territory from neighbouring Syria, where regime troops are advancing on opposition forces close to the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

"Syrian rockets were identified as having been launched as part of the internal fighting in Syria," an Israeli army statement said in English.

The statement said two of Israel's newly deployed David's Sling interceptors were launched "in response to the threat to Israeli territory," but added the Syrian rockets fell inside Syria.

It did not say if the interceptors hit the rockets.

David's Sling, developed with United States backing, was introduced into service in April 2017 to fill the gap between the longer-range Arrow missile defence system and the shorter-range Iron Dome interceptor.

Israeli media said Monday was the first time it was fired operationally.

Israel seized 1,200 square kilometres (460 square miles) of the Golan from Syria in the 1967 Six Day war, in a move never recognised internationally.

Israel has been on high alert since June 19, when Syrian government forces launched a Russia-backed offensive to retake Quneitra and Daraa and provinces, adjacent respectively to the Israeli-held section of the Golan and to Jordan.

Regime forces have since regained control of most of these two provinces through a combination of deadly bombardment and Moscow-brokered surrender deals.