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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Syria Says It Shot at Israeli Fighter Jets

DAMASCUS, Syria -- Syrian air defenses opened fire on Israeli aircraft after they violated Syrian airspace overnight Thursday, a Syrian military spokesman said, in a new development in cross-border tensions.

The Israelis flew east from the Mediterranean Sea over the northern part of the country, broke the sound barrier and "dropped ammunition" over deserted areas of Syria overnight, the spokesman was quoted as saying by the official Syrian Arab News Agency.

"Air defense units confronted them and forced them to leave after they dropped some ammunition in deserted areas without causing any human or material damage," the spokesman said.

Israel's army spokesman declined to comment.

Witnesses said the incident occurred in the al-Abyad area near Syria's northeast border with Turkey.

It was not clear what the spokesman meant by dropping ammunition. Warplanes sometimes drop extra fuel tanks to make the aircraft lighter and easier to maneuver.

Syrian Cabinet Minister Buthaina Shaaban, speaking on Al-Jazeera television's English service, would not confirm that Israel had attacked Syria but did say the aircraft violated the country's airspace.

"We warn the Israeli enemy government against this flagrant aggressive act and retain the right to respond in an appropriate way," the Syrian spokesman said, speaking on customary condition of anonymity.