Israel launches heavy Syria strikes after F-16 downed

Israel launches heavy Syria strikes after F-16 downed

Israel launches heavy Syria strikes after F-16 downed

An Israeli fighter jet crashed under fire from Syrian air defences.

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

Russia's Foreign Ministry also called for "restraint" from all parties, adding it was "unacceptable to create threats to the lives and security of Russian soldiers" in Syria. "Iran is dragging the region into an adventure in which it doesn't know how it will end", Israel's chief military spokesman, Brig.

"Our policy is clear: Israel will defend itself against any aggression and any attempt to violate its sovereignty", Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, as cited by Israeli media.

The Israeli military said on Saturday "a combat helicopter successfully intercepted an Iranian UAV that was launched from Syria and infiltrated Israel".

Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, called on the UN Security Council this weekend to condemn Iran's provocation on Saturday that ignited clashes between Israel and Syria over the northern border.

The incident Saturday reportedly marks the first Israeli strike on the Iranian military and the first, according to retired Gen. Amos Yadlin, and the first time Syria and Israel have engaged one another on the battlefield in decades.

Danon addressed the Security Council members in a sharply-worded letter, writing, "This is not the first time that we have warned you of Iran's risky actions that undermine the situation in our region. To cover their crimes in the region, Israeli officials are resorting to lies against other countries", foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi told AFP.

"This is a serious Iranian attack on Israeli territory".

The Israeli airstrikes marked "the biggest and most significant attack the air force has conducted against Syrian air defenses since Operation Peace for the Galilee" in 1982 during the First Lebanon War, the Israeli Air Force's second-in-command Brig.

Israel staged retaliatory air raids on Syrian regime positions in June, following an attack from Syria, and in September downed a Syrian fighter jet as it tried to cross the Golan ceasefire line.

Iran's involvement in Syria in support of President Bashar al-Assad in a almost seven-year-old civil war - including the deployment of Iran-backed forces near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights - has alarmed Israel, which has said it would counter any threat.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is expected to visit the region in the coming week to discuss Syria and other issues, and is scheduled to visit Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and other countries.

In Russia, whose forces began intervening in support of Syria's President Bashar al Assad in 2015, officials said they were "seriously concerned" by the confrontation.

State television stations also said that sounds of explosions believed to be from Israeli attacks were heard in the Damascus countryside.

The remains of an F-16 Israeli warplane are seen near the village of Harduf, occupied Palestinian territories, February 10, 2018.

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