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

Separately, Iran also denounced Israeli "lies" and said Syria had the right to self-defence in response to Israeli air raids. "Israel will defend its citizens and will not tolerate any violation of its sovereignty". Iranian cleric Ayatollah Ebrahim Raisi, one of the front-runners to be the next Iranian Supreme Leader, toured the Israeli-Lebanese border and boasted about operations to secure "Jerusalem's liberation". An Israeli F-16 was hit by Syrian anti-aircraft fire and its two crew bailed out over Israeli territory.

"The allegations regarding surveillance by an Iranian drone are too ridiculous for words", said Ghasemi.

Addressing the Conference of Foreign Guests Participating in the Celebrations of Iran's 1979 Revolution anniversary, General Salami said the USA has failed in its projects in Syria. "The Ministry calls on the countries concerned to curb the Israeli practices and stop its attacks".

Russian Federation voiced Saturday its concern over Israel's attacks, particularly on the so-called de-escalation zones, created to safeguard a peace resolution on the conflict imposed on Syria.

Russia's Foreign Ministry issued a statement urging "all parties involved to exercise restraint and to avoid any actions that could lead to an even greater complication of the situation".

"It is necessary to unconditionally respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria and other countries in the region". However, Israel also had little reason to support the Islamic State or al-Qaeda-aligned Islamist groups that became the Syrian government's primary rivals.

According to the Israeli military, the confrontation began with the drone entering its airspace before being intercepted by a combat helicopter.

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

According to experts, this is a UAV with a piston wing that resembles the US RQ-170, a stealth-capable drone and a jet engine that Iran fell in 2011.

In a briefing at noon on Saturday, IDF Spokesman Jonathan Conricus warned that the Syrians and Iranians are "playing with fire".

It was not clear if the jet crashed as a direct result of the Syrian fire. Israel has informed the Russians in advance of most of its strikes near Russian forces, and this presumably is what happened today, as most of the targets were Syrian air defense installations. If the conflict escalates, it could end up adding a unsafe angle to the ongoing Syrian conflict - and one that could wind up involving other powers in the region and beyond. IDF sources say that the Iranians have been using the Tiyas Military Airbase, also known as the T-4 Airbase, near the Syrian city of Palmyra, freely.

The Syrian regime is acting more boldly toward Israeli strikes because it feels it has gained the upper hand in the civil war, he said.

Iran's Foreign Ministry declined to comment.

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