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Aug 31, 8:47 AM EDT

Israel shoots down drone from Syria over Golan

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Conflict in the Middle East

JERUSALEM (AP) -- The Israeli military said Sunday that it shot down a drone that entered Israeli-controlled airspace from neighboring Syria, heightening tensions in the volatile Golan Heights.

Military spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said the aircraft apparently belonged to the Syrian military and accidentally crossed over into the Israeli-controlled side of the Golan. It was shot down with a Patriot missile.

"We have repeatedly stated that we will respond to any breach of Israel's sovereignty and will continue to act to maintain safety and security," Lerner said.

The military said the incident occurred near Quneitra, a main crossing point between Syria and the Israeli-controlled Golan.

The Quneitra area has experienced heavy fighting in recent days between Syrian government troops and rebels.

Israel has avoided taking sides in the three-year civil war in Syria, though Israeli troops have responded to occasional mortar fire that has landed on the Israeli side of the Golan. Israel says some of the attacks have been accidental spillover, while others have been intentional. It has always held Syria responsible for any cross-border fire.

Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Mideast war from Syria and subsequently annexed it in a move that has never been internationally recognized.

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