Israeli Jet Downed During Attack On Syria After Drone Intercepted, Says Israel

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The incident came after an Israeli combat helicopter successfully intercepted an Iranian unmanned aerial vehicle that had been launched from Syria, the Israel Defense Forces said.

The Israeli pilots of the crashed F16 were reported alive, although one was severely wounded.

The Israeli military said it hit eight Syrian targets, including three aerial defense batteries, and four Iranian positions that it described as "part of Iran's military entrenchment in Syria."...

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

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

The drone was shot down and captured, the statement said, and Israeli warplanes went in pursuit of the command center that operated the drone. Some Israeli observers have said it is hard to imagine that the Russians there would not have known about the Iranian drone or the subsequent antiaircraft fire.

Conricus said the army had confirmed "accurate hits of (the) Iranian UAV control facility" in Syria.

"Syria's legitimate government has every right to defend its soil and territory against any foreign aggressor", Qasemi said, state TV reported.

The U.S. was "deeply" concerned about Saturday's escalation of violence over Israel's border and "strongly" supported Israel's sovereign right to defend itself, the State Department said.

"Iran's calculated escalation of threat and its ambition to project its power and dominance, places all the people of the‎ region - from Yemen to Lebanon - at risk". "We share the concerns of many throughout the region that Iran's destabilizing activities that threaten global peace and security, and we seek greater worldwide resolve in countering Iran's malign activities", Rankine-Galloway said.

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Meanwhile, Russia's Foreign Ministry said that "the latest developments and attacks on Syria were viewed with serious concern" and that the loss to Syria and damage resulting from them were being examined.

Netanyahu says he also spoke to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. "We will not tolerate any violation of our sovereignty". Salami added: "We have no military presence in Syria".

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

Early on Saturday morning, an Iranian drone, which was launched from a Syrian base in the Homs desert, was identified approaching Israeli airspace by the IDF around 4 a.m., setting off alarms across Golan Heights and the Jordan Valley.

The Trump regime has backed Israel's hawkish stance on Iran, and has also declared containing Tehran's influence an objective of its Syria policy.

Israeli aircraft have been operating relatively freely in Syria and Lebanon since the 1980s despite encountering largely ineffective anti-aircraft fire.

As the Israeli planes came under attack, two F-16 pilots made a decision to eject, and their plane crashed in Israel's Galilee region, Conricus said.

In a statement quoted by the Israel Broadcasting Corporation, Brigadier General Tomer Bar, a senior Israel Air Force officer, said the Israeli aircraft was downed by a surface-to-air missile but he did not specify. "However, we are not looking to escalate the situation".

Last year, Israel pushed back against a partial ceasefire brokered by the United States and Russian Federation, arguing that it allowed Iranian expansion near Israel's borders.

Low-intensity conflict, in which they use Shi'ite militiamen attacking from the Syrian side of the Golan Heights, "is much better for them than full scale war", Litvak said.

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