Israel shoots down Syria drone; Netanyahu meets Putin

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman leads a faction meeting of his Yisrael Beytenu party in the Knesset

The Golan Heights was illegally captured by Israel in 1967 and annexed in 1981.

His remarks could foreshadow a more open approach to Assad ahead of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Syria talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Wednesday.

The army is ordering all boats to clear out of the Sea of Galilee so forces can collect fragments of a drone that entered Israeli airspace from Syria.

Israel urgently checked with Russian and Jordanian officials that the drone did not belong to either country before it sent the Patriot to blast it out of the sky.

The drone had come from Syria, traveled into Jordan, and then crossed over into Israel.

This is the second time in a month that Israel has intercepted a drone flying in from Syria.

Israel has carried out scores of air strikes on suspected Iranian or Hezbollah deployments and arms transfers in Syria, seeing these as a greater threat than Assad and warning him not to abet them.

"We will continue to act decisively against any spillover and any infiltration of Israeli territory or airspace", Netanyahu said. He added that the latter scenario was "not common".

"We will discuss Syria, we will discuss Iran, we will discuss Israel's security needs", Netanyahu told reporters before departing.

A general view of refugee tents erected in Syria near the Israeli borderline as it seen from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, Israel July 3, 2018.

On Wednesday, Netanyahu will fly to Moscow for a meeting with Putin. "I very much appreciate the direct, unmediated and excellent contact that I have with the Russian president".

Russian Federation is an ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but has turned a blind eye to frequent sorties by Israeli aircraft against targets of Iran and the Hezbollah militant group in Syria.

In a reminder of the volatile situation, Netanyahu pointed at an incident earlier Wednesday in which the Israeli military fired a Patriot missile to shoot down a drone that had infiltrated Israeli airspace from Syria.

"There should be no military forces in the area of separation other than those of UNDOF", a United Nations spokesman said.

"Any Syrian soldier found in the buffer zone is endangering his life, " Lieberman said while touring the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights.

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