Israel strikes Syria, downs Iranian drone, as F-16 crashes

10 2018 shows the remains of a Syrian missile that landed in northern Israel

A joint operation room of Syria and its allies, Iran and Hezbollah, denied the drone entered Israel airspace.

Israel called the drone infiltration a "severe and irregular violation of Israeli sovereignty" and warned that Iran would be held accountable for its meddling, raising the specter of a larger confrontation in an area that has remained largely stable since a monthlong war between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006.

Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, said on Saturday that "all of our warnings regarding Iran have proven correct".

Israel responded with new attacks on bases in southern Syria, hitting at least 12 positions in Syria, including three aerial defence batteries.

Separately, a Revolutionary Guards' official on Saturday said he could not confirm the report because Israelis were "liars". An Israeli F-16 was hit by Syrian anti-aircraft fire and its two crew bailed out over Israeli territory.

"The government and army of Syria as an independent country have a legitimate right to defend (the country's) territorial integrity and counter any type of foreign aggression".

"Israel is our [US] closest security partner in the region and we [US] fully support Israel's inherent right to defend itself against threats to its territory and its people", Pentagon's spokesman Adrian Rankine-Galloway said.

She said Washington continues to push back on the totality of Iran's "malign" activities in the region and called for an end to Iranian behavior that "threatens" peace and stability.

"We urge all sides to exercise restraint and to avoid any actions that could lead to an even greater complication of the situation", the ministry said in a statement.

In Litvak's view, the Iranians are intent on continuing to establish military bases in Syria. The IDF later released footage that it said showed the drone being brought down by an attack helicopter.


Conricus declined to give details on the drone's presumed mission or whether it was armed.

"This is not the first time that we have warned you of Iran's unsafe actions that undermine the situation in our region". Upon their return, Israel's jets came under heavy Syrian anti-aircraft fire and the pilots of one of the F-16s had to eject and the plane crashed in northern Israel.

According to Ben-Dor, the Russian diplomacy would have to address Israeli concerns in terms of not allowing massive Iranian construction of offensive weapons in Lebanon and Syria, and Iranian bases would have to be moved as far as possible from the Golan Heights.

Israeli officials wouldn't confirm if the F-16 had been downed by a Syrian missile, as teams combed the crash site for remains to analyze.

"They discussed the situation around the actions of the Israeli air force, which carried our missile strikes on targets in Syria", Interfax quoted the Kremlin as saying. "I'm not sure the Iranians want a full scale escalation and neither do we".

Iran's military chief warned Israel last October against breaching Syrian airspace and territory.

The regime said it intercepted the missiles and destroyed a lot of them, according to SANA.

Israel has attacked inside Syria frequently since the civil war began in March 2011, targeting Syrian military posts and arms shipments bound for Hezbollah.

Authorities also accused Syria in November of violating the 1974 ceasefire agreement by "conducting construction work" in the northern part of the Golan Demilitarized Zone.

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