Russia: Israeli strike on Syria threatened civilian flights

BEIRUT (AP) — The Russian military says an Israeli airstrike near the Syrian capital has endangered civilian flights.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said Wednesday that six Israeli F-16 jets launched the "provocative" raid at the moment when two civilian airliners were preparing to land in Damascus and Beirut, creating a "direct threat" to the aircraft.

Konashenkov said the Syrian military didn't fully engage its air defense assets to avoid accidentally hitting the passenger jets. He added that Syrian air traffic controllers redirected the Damascus-bound plane to the Russian air base in Hemeimeem.

Konashenkov said the Syrian air defense forces shot down 14 of the 16 precision-guided bombs dropped by the Israeli jets, while the remaining two hit a Syrian military depot, injuring three Syrian soldiers.