Israeli fighter jet shot down in Syria

11 February, 2018, 05:26 | Author: Bert Pena
  • Two Israeli air force F-15s

It later announced that one of the pilots was in serious condition.

The Russian foreign ministry has urged all sides to refrain from escalating the situation.

Iran's expanding clout during the war, including deployments of Iran-backed forces like Lebanon's Hizbollah near the Golan frontier, has raised alarm in Israel, which has said it would act against any threat from its regional arch-enemy, Teheran.

Meanwhile, Syrian media reported later on Saturday that explosions were heard near the capital Damascus, as the Syrian air defense responded to "new Israeli aggression".

Israel was reaching out to Russian Federation - a key backer of al-Assad alongside Iran, and the key airborne force on the side of the government - as well as the United States in an effort to prevent further escalation. "This was a defensive effort triggered by an Iranian act of aggression and we are defending our airspace, our sovereignty and civilians", an Israeli military spokesman said on Saturday.

A military statement said in Tel Aviv that twelve targets, including three Syrian aerial defence batteries and four other targets that are part of Iran's military establishment in Syria were attacked.

The attack was caused by the intrusion into Israeli airspace of an Iranian drone launched from Syria, said the Israeli army.

Earlier, the IDF said that a combat helicopter successfully intercepted an Iranian UAV that was launched from Syria and infiltrated Israel.

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The drone had been sighted taking off from a base in Syria, and was intercepted after it crossed into Israeli territory, spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus said. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor of the seven-year civil war, said the earlier Israeli raids had targeted several military bases in the east of the central province of Homs. The cause of the F-16 crash is being investigated, Conricus said, adding that the IDF has not determined if anti-aircraft fire hit the jet.

The Israelis were met with heavy anti-aircraft fire and one F-16 is believed to have been struck by a surface-to-air missile.

The pilots of one of the Israeli F16s recognized that one missile had locked onto their aircraft and the two pilots ejected from the jet, which crashed in the lower Galilee.

In Damascus, the official Sana news agency claimed that the DCA had repulsed Israeli planes and hit "more than one", reporting raids on military installations near Damascus in the center and south of the country.

Israel has conducted dozens of strikes inside Syrian borders to defend what it calls its red lines, and to prevent what it says is Iran's proxy Hezbollah - fighting alongside the Syrian regime - from acquiring advanced weaponry.

The pilots of an F16 abandoned in flight their aircraft that crashed in the region of the Jezreel Valley (north).

The incident in and of itself is a serious event and raises questions as to whether the drone was used as bait by the Iranians to drag Israeli jets into Syria, whose air defenses were laying in wait for them.

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