Middle East

Israel shoots at own civilian aircraft, mistaking it for hostile jet

TEL AVIV (DPA) – Israeli troops in the Golan Heights fired at an Israeli civilian aircraft on Wednesday night (Aug 21), having misidentified it as a hostile plane which they thought had infiltrated from Syria.

Believing that the aircraft posed an imminent threat, they fired at it until they realised it was an Israeli aircraft, an army spokesman told Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA) on Thursday.

No injuries were reported.

The pilot involved in the incident told Israeli news site Ynet that he was “a metre-and-a-half away from disaster”.

The pilot, who had the required permits for the flight, said he felt a knock on one of the plane’s wings and at first thought it was a  bird, Ynet reported, adding that he then noticed that fuel was leaking from his aircraft.

“This is a serious incident which is being reviewed,” the army spokesman said.

Israel seized the strategic Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. Israel annexed the territory in 1981, though this move has not been recognised internationally, other than by the United States earlier this year.

During the Syrian civil war, Israel repeatedly launched airstrikes against Iranian targets in Syria.

Syria and Israel have never signed a peace deal, and Israel and Iran remain staunch regional rivals.

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