Iran denies involvement in shooting down Israeli fighter jet

Pauline Gross
February 11, 2018

The Israeli military called the suspected drone infiltration by Iran a "severe and irregular violation of Israeli sovereignty" and added that Iran will be held responsible for escalating tensions along the northern border.

Israeli incursions into Syria are common but the downing of one of its fighter jets is said to represent a serious escalation.

JERUSALEM-Syria shot down an Israeli jet on Saturday, the military said, after Israel intercepted an Iranian drone in its airspace launched from Syria and struck an Iranian target there.

The Israeli military said it later attacked 12 Syrian and Iranian targets in Syria in what it described as "large-scale" raids.

It said that it sent its jets into Syria after shooting down an Iranian drone over Israeli territory earlier on Saturday.

But regarding the downing of the Israeli F-16, Syria's Allies Command said "we hail the courageous retaliation of Damascus". It was not clear if the jet had been hit or if the pilots abandoned the plane.

Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman was convening the top brass at military headquarters in Tel Aviv to discuss a further response.

The military alliance fighting in support of Assad denied any of its drones had entered Israeli air space.

Iran had "violated our sovereignty, and infiltrated its drone into Israeli airspace from Syria", Netanyahu declared.

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Firas Hamdan, 42, a public servant, said such Syrian responses will ensure no more Israeli attacks in Syria.

Israel has sought to avoid direct involvement in the Syrian war, but acknowledges carrying out dozens of air strikes there to stop what it says are advanced arms deliveries to Hezbollah.

"The illegitimate Zionist regime can not cover up its atrocities and crimes against Muslim nations in the region by playing a blame game and spreading lies", Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Saturday.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran has advisory presence in Syria at the request of the country's legitimate and constitutional government", Qassemi said.

'Whoever is responsible for this incident is the one who will pay the price'.

The Iran-backed militia Hezbollah is deeply involved in supporting the Syrian regime of Bashar Al Assad in the country's seven-year long internal conflict. Shortly afterwards, Syrian State TV reported explosions in the Damascus area, calling them new "Israeli aggression", it said.

A Syrian military official said that his country would continue to respond in kind to all attacks on its soil.

"According to Kupperwasser, because Israel has been trying hard to prevent that from happening, Iran is upping the ante by doing two things it hadn't done previously: attempting to strike or attack inside Israel, as they did this morning using the UAV, and attempting to build Iranian military industry inside Lebanon to provide Hezbollah with advanced weaponry".

Other reports by GizPress

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