Israel says it shot down Iranian drone over Syria

Frederick Owens
February 11, 2018

Claiming that this would limit Israeli Air Force activity in Syria. It was intercepted after about a minute and a half in Israeli territory by an Apache attack helicopter.

Israel's chief military spokesman said Israel held Iran directly responsible for the incident. "We agreed coordination between our armies would continue", Netanyahu said in a televised statement. "We are prepared for a variety of incidents. whoever is responsible for this incident is the one who will pay the price", the Times of Israel reported.

Tehran has sent military advisers, volunteer militias and, reportedly, hundreds of fighters from its Quds Force, the overseas arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). "We do not confirm any such news from Israel", he said. "To cover their crimes in the region, Israeli officials are resorting to lies against other countries", foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi told AFP.

Israeli missiles also this week targeted a Syrian military research center near Damascus. In Israel, air raid sirens went off in the Israeli-controlled area of the Golan Heights.

Israel has mostly stayed out of the fighting in Syria, wary of being drawn into fighting between forces that are all opposed to it. The ongoing confrontations are seen as the most serious between archenemies Israel and Iran since the beginning of the Syrian civil war in 2011.

Israel also sent a similar message to the US administration to mediate to defuse tension between Israel and Lebanon over Israel's building of a border fence between the two countries. The Iranian Foreign Ministry, though, disputed that description of the drone's downing.

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An Israeli F-16 crashed inside Israel, but the pilots were able to eject and land inside Israel. The crash propelled two pilots to abandon the jet.

"Syrian President Bashar Assad has shifted from stage of threats to stage of action after his army regained control of 80% of Syria's territory", Haaretz said. Eight of the Syrian targets belonged to the fourth Syrian division near Damascus, IDF spokesman Jonathan Conricus said. "Such attacks should be confronted and the response should be tougher to give the Israelis a lesson". Iran wants to dictate new red lines from Syria's perspective, by dictating a message that Israel no longer has a free pass to operate unhindered in Syria. The military said significant damage was caused. The plane was in Israeli territory.

All the Israeli aircraft from this sortie returned safely.

That prompted Israel to unleash a dozen retaliatory strikes on both Syrian and Iranian targets inside Syria. The Observatory said the raids resulted in casualties, but didn't specify.

The statement reads that the Syrian government forces "are complying with the existing arrangements to provide the consistent functioning of the de-escalation zone in the south-west of the country".

Syrian state TV carried a video of the attack showing flames and smoke and quoted military official as saying that Syrian aerial defense had responded to Israeli "aggression" against an army base in the central Syria.

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