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Controlled explosion after Syrian anti-aircraft missile downs Israeli fighter jet

Controlled explosion after Syrian anti-aircraft missile downs Israeli fighter jet

In its most serious engagement in neighboring Syria since fighting there began in 2011, Israel shot down an infiltrating Iranian drone Saturday and struck Iranian targets deep in Syria before one of its own jets was downed.

In retaliation for the downed jet, Israeli forces attacked 12 targets in Syria, including three aerial defense batteries and four targets described as Iranian, the IDF said.

Amos Yadlin, a former Israeli air force general who once headed Israel's military intelligence, said the downing of the plane Saturday in northern Israel raised the possibility that "Syria may have used a long-range missile that Israel has been anxious about".

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

The seriously-injured pilot was disconnected from respiration and his condition is now defined as moderate, the hospital said.

The Israeli Air Force shot down the drone dispatched by the Iranians and damaged the base that sent it. Israel also hit several Iranian and Syria targets that have been acting against us.

The Iranian-backed Lebanese militia Hezbollah, which has been fighting for the Assad regime, hailed Syria's air defenses, saying Saturday's incident marked the start of a new era.

Bar also expressed satisfaction that, for the first time, Israel had captured an Iranian drone. "I think it's good that our enemies learn and understand these capabilities". "We were summoned to defend the country's airspace and immediately took on the mission", he told Hadashot News "We realized that it was an Iranian drone and we waited for it to cross the border, when we shot it down".

Separately, Iran issued a joint statement alongside the other main allies of the Syrian regime - Russian Federation and Lebanese militant group Hezbollah - denying the allegations regarding the drone. "The era of Israeli strikes on Syria is over".

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Israel has long complained about the involvement of archenemy Iran, and Iranian proxy Hezbollah, in the Syria war.

It says that during the attack anti-aircraft missiles were fired toward Israel, triggering alarms that were heard in northern Israel.

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. The two F-16 pilots ejected and their plane crashed in Israel's Galilee region, Conricus said.

Saturday's strikes followed Israel's interception of an Iranian drone that had infiltrated its airspace. Syrian government forces and their allies have generally refrained from responding, wary of opening up yet another front in an already chaotic conflict.

The last time Israel lost a combat plane to enemy fire was in the 1982 Lebanon war, the military has said.

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said Tehran "believes Syria has the right to legitimate self-defence".

The alleged drone infiltration into Israel's airspace led to the Israeli Air Force launching it's biggest retaliatory strikes in Syria in more than 30 years. And shortly afterwards, the Israeli military was collecting its charred remains in northern Israel. Russian Federation is an ally of Iran, which has sent troops and advisors to back Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

As the Israeli planes came under attack, one of the jets was hit.

"We are not looking to escalate the situation", he added. He said the sound of Syrian anti-aircraft missiles is louder than usual.