DAMASCUS – The Israeli military shot down an Iranian Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) early Saturday before launching a “large-scale attack” on at least a dozen Iranian and Syrian targets in Syria. Israel called it a “severe and irregular violation of
DAMASCUS – The Israeli military shot down an Iranian Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) early Saturday before launching a “large-scale attack” on at least a dozen Iranian and Syrian targets in Syria.
Israel called it a “severe and irregular violation of Israeli sovereignty” and warned of further action against the unprecedented Iranian aggression, the Haaretz reported.
The military said its planes faced massive anti-aircraft fire from Syria that forced two pilots to abandon an F-16 jet that crashed in northern Israel. One pilot was seriously wounded and the other lightly. Syrian officials reported large explosions in the center of the country and the Syrian counter fire set off warning sirens throughout northern Israel.
The Israeli strikes marked its most significant engagement since the fighting in neighbouring Syria began in 2011 and said Iran would be held responsible for its outcome.
Gen. Hossein Salami, acting commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, did not acknowledge Israel’s claim it shot down the drone. “We do not confirm any such news from Israel,” he said.
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But the joint operations room for the Syrian military and its allies denied the drone violated Israeli airspace, saying it was on a regular mission gathering intelligence on Islamic State militants.
Syria’s Defense Ministry said in statements on its website that its air defenses responded successfully to the Israeli operation and hit more than one plane. “The Israeli enemy has once again attacked some of our military bases in the southern area and our air defenses responded and foiled the aggression,” it said.
In subsequent attacks, Israel struck four additional Iranian positions and eight Syrian sites in Syria. The military said significant damage was caused.