Jerusalem: Israel will respond "forcefully" to attempts to threaten its security, Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon warned on Tuesday, after it shot down a Syrian warplane over the Golan Heights.
"This morning, the IDF fighters managing the air defence systems brought down a Syrian fighter plane which approached Israel`s sovereign territory on the Golan in a threatening manner, and even crossed the frontier," Yaalon said in a statement.
Israel seized 1,200 square kilometres (460 square miles) of the Golan from Syria during the Six-Day War of 1967, then annexed it in 1981 in a move never recognised by the international community.
"We will not allow anyone, whether it is a state actor or a terror organisation, to threaten our security and breach our sovereignty," Yaalon said.
"We will respond forcefully against any such attempt, whether it is an error or intentional."
Brigadier General Ram Shmueli, former head of the air force`s intelligence unit, said the incident was likely caused by pilot error.
"We believe (the pilot`s) mission was to attack enemy forces -- not ours -- in the Syrian Golan Heights," he said in a telephone briefing.
"Unfortunately it crossed the border and we cannot tolerate any kind of penetration into Israeli airspace."
It was the first time Israel had shot down a Syrian aircraft since 1985, he said.