Israel downs Iranian drone and strikes Syria

Randolph Lopez
February 11, 2018

One was badly injured. Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi, from Netanyahu's Likud Party, said that after Israel's repeated warnings on Iran in Syria - what he called a "yellow card" for the Islamic Republic - Saturday's strike represented a "red card". If Israel does become more engaged in the fighting next door, it could have serious consequences for the war in Syria war - and for the region as a whole.

Israeli planes, including at least eight jets, then struck an Iranian installation in Syria which the Israeli military said operated the unmanned aircraft. The stated targets included three air defense batteries and a base belonging to the Syrian army's 4th Division on the outskirts of the capital, Damascus.

David Ivry, a former Israeli Air Force chief, told Reuters he believed it was the first time an Israeli F-16 was brought down since Israel began using the jets in the 1980s.

A statement attributed to a war operations room that includes the Syrian army and allied militias said the Israeli strike targeted a drone base in the Tayfour military airbase, calling claims that the drone entered Israeli airspace "lies".

Netanyahu also said he spoke with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

"The creation of any threat to the lives and safety of Russian military servicemen now in Syria on the invitation of its lawful government to help fight terrorists is absolutely unacceptable", the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Iran's expanding clout during Syria's almost seven-year-long war, including deployments of Iran-backed forces near the Golan frontier, has raised alarm in Israel. Syria's response in the past has been limited, but it appeared to be sending a message on Saturday that it would not remain that way.

Syria said its air defences repelled two Israeli raids on its military bases in the centre of the country, hitting more than one warplane during the first.

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Iran dismissed Israel's claims that Israeli forces downed one of its drones and that Iran was involved in an attack.

In a statement, Hezbollah said that the downing of the Israeli F-16 marked a "new strategic phase" in the conflict. It did not cross randomly but was "on a mission" he said, though he declined to give more details or comment on whether the drone was armed. Maybe both sides will find it easier, with Russian pressure, to cool down. "We didn't know what was happening, we heard helicopters and planes in the air", said one eyewitness. He said the sound of Syrian anti-aircraft missiles is louder than usual.

A source within the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force, of which the RFMF is a member, said: "The Arabs say it's their territory but the Israelis say it's theirs".

Israeli military spokesman Jonathan Conricus warned that Syria and Iran were "playing with fire", but stressed his country was not seeking an escalation.

"The fact that this happened not far from our home, the fact there was an Iranian drone overhead is not nice and makes us uncomfortable", he said. He was speaking on the sidelines of a conference marking the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, Iran's Tasnim news agency reported.

He added that "Iran does not have a military presence in Syria , and has only sent military advisers at the request of the Syrian government".

The Israeli military said it was not looking to escalate the situation but was ready for various scenarios.

Prime Minister Netanyahu made a statement this morning about the incursion and Israel's response.

Other reports by GlobalViralNews

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