On May 27, a Su-34 warplane of the Russian Aerospace Force Intercepted an F-16 warplane of the Israel Air Force over the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli, according to several Lebanese sources. Reportedly, the Su-34 took off from Hmeimim airbase in the Syria coast.
Lebanese sources released a video showing the Russian Su-34 flying over Tripoli. However, no Israeli F-16 was spotted. This led many observers into doubting that the Su-34 was intercepting an Israeli warplane.
Observers also noted that the Su-34 was only carrying a PTB-2000 external fuel tank, which could mean that the warplane was actually conducting a maritime patrol off the shores of Syria and Lebanon. The Su-34 may have entered the Lebanese aerospace due to the current bad weather in the area.
Russia and Israel established a de-escalation hotline between them only days after the beginning of the Russian intervention in Syria in 2015. Former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon told the Russian news outlet Sputnik on May 5 that the hotline had prevented a Russian jet that almost entered Israel’s airspace from potentially being shot down on previous occasions.