Israel Defense Forces Shoot Civilian Light Aircraft on Golan Heights Mistaking it for An Infiltrating Aircraft from Syria

A Texan Evo Light Sport Aircraft with Israeli registration like the one involved in the incident according to some sources. (Photo: Fly Synthesis)

The aircraft was considered as a hostile aircraft coming from Syria. After realizing the mistake, troops ceased fire and the aircraft landed safely.

The Israel Defense Forces released a statement in the evening of August 21 saying that Israeli soldiers on the Golan Height mistakenly identified a civilian light aircraft as hostile and opened fire against it.

“An IDF force operating on the Golan Heights identified an aircraft suspected of being a hostile that infiltrated from Syria and posing a real threat, so they opened fire on it. After realizing that it was an Israeli civilian aircraft, they stopped the shooting. As part of an aircraft penetration protection procedure, the force in the field is expected to identify and watch over suspicious vessels. This is a serious incident that is under investigation and its lessons will be learned,” the official statement (translated from Hebrew language) reads.

IDF bases on Golan Heights are on high alert to prevent drones flying from Syria into Israel territory, as happened in the past when hostile drones were intercepted by F-15s, F-16s, Patriots and even AH-64s. The statement didn’t provide details about who intercepted the plane or the weapons used, though a video emerged on Twitter showing Israeli paratroopers opening fire with their rifles against the small plane as it was flying above them.

The statement didn’t provide details on the aircraft either. However, according to Israeli press, the aircraft in question was a crop-dusting plane spraying fields in the central Golan Height, as they are a relatively common occurrence in that area. According to another tweet, the aircraft is an Italian-built Fly Synthesis Texan LSA (Light Sport Aircraft), which seems appreciated by many pilots in Israel, with registration 4X-HYT. The pilot was performing aerial photography and started losing fuel after what he believed was a bird strike. After landing safely, he discovered that he had been fired by IDF troops and a bullet struck the fuel tank.

The images in the Tweet below allegedly show the damage suffered by the light aircraft:

This is a serious incident that is being investigated right now by the Israel Defense Forces. Luckily nobody got hurt and the lessons learned will help to prevent similar accidents from happening again.

About Stefano D'Urso
Stefano D'Urso is a freelance journalist and contributor to TheAviationist based in Lecce, Italy. A graduate in Industral Engineering he's also studying to achieve a Master Degree in Aerospace Engineering. Electronic Warfare, Loitering Munitions and OSINT techniques applied to the world of military operations and current conflicts are among his areas of expertise.