Latest updates from the Israeli military confirm one of its F-16 fighter jets was shot down by Syrian anti-aircraft firepower after it struck ‘Iranian sites’ in the country in retaliation for a drone flight that crossed into Israeli territory last night.
Two crew members of the F-16 fighter jet were recovered after the incident in northern Israel and taken to a hospital for treatment. They are reportedly in stable condition.
Earlier in the day, Israeli planes shot down an Iranian drone that infiltrated the country, and proceeded with strikes at Syrian strongholds from where they believe the attack was launched.
Israeli military described the attack as a “severe and irregular violation of Israeli sovereignty,” and its swift response has been applauded by the United States of America.
“IDF (Israel Defence Forces) has targeted the Iranian control systems in Syria that sent the #UAV into Israeli airspace. Massive Syrian Anti-Air fire, one F16 crashed in Israel, pilots safe,” Israeli military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus said on Twitter.
Reports from Reuters and The Associated Press say blaring sounds from ambulances and police vehicles were heard in northern Israel after the massive military fire. Explosions were also heard in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley region near the Syrian border.
In an official statement, the Israeli military said it was monitoring events and is fully prepared for further action.
The Israeli government has recently issued warnings against increased Iranian involvement along its border in Syria and Lebanon.
Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin after the heated military attacks and rising tensions in the Middle East.
“Israel has right for self-defense and will defend itself against any attack or attempt to violate its airspace,” Mr. Netanyahu was quoted as saying during the discussions.
“We agreed the coordination between our armies would continue,” the Israeli leader continued in a televised statement after the conversation.
Mr. Netanyahu also emphasized his country’s resolve to seek peace but insists that his government would never allow the Tehran forces to entrench in Syria.
The Isreali prime minister reportedly held telephone conversations with the US State Secretary, Rex Tillerson, whose input on the matter was necessary as a Tel-aviv ally.