Israel says 2 Syrian jets downed

Israeli warplanes shot down two Syrian MIG fighters in a brief dogfight over the Lebanese capital, Beirut, an Israeli military spokesman said. He said the Israeli planes were intercepted while on a routine surveillance flight.

The air battle was the first reported over Lebanon since April 21, when Israeli planes downed two Syrian MIGs during raids on Palestinian bases.

The spokesman said all Israeli planes returned safely to base. He gave no other details of the operation.

The right-wing Falangist radio in Lebanon said the Israeli planes were flying over the Bekaa Valley close to Syria's border when the Syrian planes intervened.

Lebanese security forces said they found the wreckage of only one Syrian plane shot down in the encounter.

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