An Israeli F-16 fighter jet has been shot down by Syrian military while targeting what it called Iranian sites responsible for launching a drone into occupied Golan Heights.
The Israeli military said on Saturday “a combat helicopter successfully intercepted an Iranian UAV that was launched from Syria and infiltrated Israel”.
“IDF [Israel Defence Forces] has targeted the Iranian control systems in Syria that sent the #UAV into Israeli airspace. Massive Syrian Anti-Air fire, one F16 crashed in Israel, pilots safe,” Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus, Israeli military spokesman, said on Twitter.
Having carried out over 100 attacks on Syria since 2011, Israel takes its control over its neighbors' airspace for granted. That ended today with the downing of one of its F-16s by Syrian air defenses. https://t.co/FDoRVybzib
— Max Blumenthal (@MaxBlumenthal) February 10, 2018
Israeli media said the jet crashed in northern Israel.
Syria state television later cited a Syrian military official as saying that Israeli “aggression” targeted the Syrian army base in the central region of the country.
Sources in Damascus said there were casualties among Syrian forces.
In response, Syria shot down more than one Israeli fighter jets, according the official.
After dozens of Israeli strikes against Syria, Syria hits back and downs Israeli f-16. That is long overdue self defense, but of course the Israelis are playing victim https://t.co/6jBasIUljb
— Rania Khalek (@RaniaKhalek) February 10, 2018
Sirens sounded in northern Israel as a result of massive Syrian fire.
Pro-government military alliance in Syria said in a statement later on Saturday that Israel would see a severe and serious response to its “terrorism” from now on.
The statement also said the drones – one of which Israel shot down – were being used against the so-called ‘Islamic State’ or ISIS.
— RT (@RT_com) February 10, 2018
Israeli military said it was “monitoring events” and was “fully prepared for further action”.
Israel’s chief military spokesman, Brigadier General Ronen Manelis, said Israel held Iran directly responsible for the incident.
“This is a serious Iranian attack on Israeli territory. Iran is dragging the region into an adventure in which it doesn’t know how it will end,” he said in a statement.
Smiling #Syria-ns take pictures and souvenirs of the #Israeli jet that was shot down over the occupied #GolanHeights . Once again this is Syrian, not Israeli territory. #israelunderfire #Israel pic.twitter.com/Nr0jNfRHDG
— Partisangirl 🇸🇾 (@Partisangirl) February 10, 2018
“Whoever is responsible for this incident is the one who will pay the price.”
Later on Saturday, Reuters news agency quoted an unnamed Israeli military spokesman as saying that Israel did not seek an escalation in the region.
“We are willing, prepared and capable to exact a heavy price from anyone that attacks us, however we are not looking to escalate the situation. This was a defensive effort triggered by an Iranian act of aggression and we are defending our airspace our sovereignty and civilians,” the source said.
Explosions could be heard in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley region near the Syrian border.
(Al Jazeera, PC, Social Media)