A more likely scenario, several experts here said, is that the Syrian regime was so incensed by yet another successful Israeli air attack on its soil that it fired off a Scud-type ballistic missile to make a point.

Russian Federation summoned its ambassador to Israel for clarifications following Israeli airstrikes in Syria.

In November 2012, Israel fired warning shots toward Syria after a mortar shell hit an Israeli military post, the first time Israel had fired on Syria across the Golan Heights since the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

"When we identify attempts to transfer advanced weapons to Hezbollah and we have intelligence and it is operationally possible, we will act to stop it", said Netanyahu.

"All of our aircraft returned to their bases without any threats posed by Syrian air defenses", Israeli army spokesman Avijaa Odraei told Anadolu Agency.

Syria's army claims to have shot down an Israeli jet, which it says had attacked a military target near Palmyra.

The Arrow 3 interceptor, created to shoot down missiles above the atmosphere, was handed to air force bases in Israel in January after successful testing by Israel and the United States.

There have been several reports over the past five years that Israel has targeted weapons convoys in Syria headed for Hezbollah in Lebanon, but until now Israel has not officially addressed these claims. Speaking on public radio on Sunday Lieberman said: "The next time the Syrians use their air defence systems against our planes we will destroy them without the slightest hesitation".

In highly unusual comments confirming the operation, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: "Our policy is very consistent". The Iran-backed group is sworn to Israel's destruction and fought a month-long war with the Jewish state in 2006.

The incident - not least because the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) statement has made it "official" - represents a serious escalation in tensions between Israel and Syria.

The sound of sirens in the Jordan valley mixed with explosions Thursday night as the IAF conducted airstrikes in Syria.

Israel has been largely unaffected by the Syrian civil war raging next door, suffering only sporadic incidents of spillover fire that Israel has generally dismissed as tactical errors by the Syrian army.