Israel Downs Iranian Drone, Strikes Syria; Israeli F-16 Shot Down, Pilots Safe
One pilot in serious condition ¦ Israel attacks Syrian, Iranian targets in fresh strike ¦ Rocket sirens sound throughout northern Israel
Yaniv Kubovich, Jack Khoury, Noa Landau and Noa Shpigel Feb 10, 2018 8:00 AM
comments Zen Subscribe now
Shareshare on facebook Tweet send via email reddit stumbleupon
Israeli F-16 crash site, today
Weapons factories are the real Israel-Lebanon flashpoint – not the border wall
Alleged Israeli strike on Syria facility targeted Hezbollah's efforts to enhance missile capabilities
An Israeli F-16 was downed Saturday morning after Israel intercepted an Iranian drone launched from Syria into Israeli territory. According to the Israeli army, Syrian anti-aircraft missiles targeted the jet after Israel responded to the infiltration of the drone with a strike in Syria.
The two F-16 pilots ejected as the plane went down in northern Israel. The pilots were taken to the hospital in stable condition. One of the pilots is in serious condition. Following the downing of the jet Israel responded with a fresh "large-scale strike" in Syria.
To really understand the Middle East and stay up-to-date, subscribe to Haaretz
Early Saturday an Iranian drone was intercepted in Israeli airspace. IDF Spokesman Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis said Israel "identified an Iranian drone drone which took off from Syrian territory. The drone was identified by IAF systems and was downed by an IAF helicopter. The Iranian drone fell in our territory and is in our possession."
In response, the Israeli military struck targets in Syria. Manelis said the targets included the trailer from which "the Iranians launched the drone," adding that, "This was a surgical action deep in Syria, target destroyed."
Missile contrails seen in Israel during overnight strike in Syria
Manelis confirmed that sirens were activated but said civilians were not in danger.
"This is a serious Iranian attack on Israeli territory," Manelis said "Iran is dragging the region into a situation in which it doesn't know how it will end. We are prepared for a variety of incidents...whoever is responsible for this incident is the one who will pay the price."
Rocket sirens sounded for a second time following the downing of the jet. Syrian state TV reported explosions in the Damascus area, calling them new "Israeli aggression."
Shortly afterwards, the Israeli military said it has carried out a fresh 'large-scale strike' against 12 Iranian and Syrian targets in Syria. The targets included four Syrian air-defense batteries and four Iranian targets, the military said.
According to official Israeli sources, since the incidents began Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been holding security consultations and approving the necessary actions in real-time. Members of the Israeli security cabinet have been briefed on the details.
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman will hold a special security assessment meeting shortly with the IDF chief of staff and senior army and security officials.
Syrian television claimed Saturday morning more than one Israeli aircraft was hit by Syria's defense systems.
Due to Syrian anti-aircraft fire, says the army, rocket sirens sounded in multiple areas of northern Israel, first in the northern Israeli town of Beit She’an and later in the surrounding areas and Golan Heights.
This is a developing story.
Analysis Israel-Syria-Iran Flare-up: With Newfound Confidence, Assad Moves From Threats to Action
If it turns out Iranian soldiers or 'advisers' were killed in the Israeli strike, the situation may go from bad to worse