Israel downs Iranian drone and strikes Syria, F-16 crashes

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By ARON HELLER and SARAH EL DEEB

The Associated Press

JERUSALEM — The Israeli army shot down an Iranian drone that infiltrated the nation early Saturday earlier than launching “large-scale attack” on at the very least a dozen Iranian targets in Syria. Israel referred to as it a “severe and irregular violation of Israeli sovereignty.”

The army mentioned its planes confronted large anti-aircraft hearth from Syria that pressured two pilots to desert an F-16 jet that crashed in northern Israel. One pilot was significantly wounded and the opposite flippantly.

The army referred to as the drone infiltration a “severe and irregular violation of Israeli sovereignty” and mentioned Iran can be held chargeable for its consequence, marking a dramatic escalation in tensions alongside its northern border.

“This is a serious Iranian attack on Israeli territory. Iran is dragging the region into an adventure in which it doesn’t know how it will end,” Israel’s chief army spokesman, Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis, mentioned in a particular assertion. “Whoever is responsible for this incident is the one who will pay the price.”

The Israeli army then carried out what it referred to as a “large scale attack” towards Iranian and Syrian targets in Syria.

The army mentioned it struck 12 targets together with three aerial protection batteries and 4 Iranian targets which are a part of Iran’s army institution in Syria. During the assault, anti-aircraft missiles have been fired towards Israel jets triggering sirens that have been sounded throughout northern Israel.

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman was convening the highest brass at army headquarters in Tel Aviv to debate an additional response.

Israeli army spokesman Jonathan Conricus mentioned Iran was “responsible for this severe violation of Israeli sovereignty” and that the army was “fully prepared for further action.”

Syrian state TV quoted a army official saying Syrian air defenses hit multiple Israeli airplane. The official mentioned the Israeli raids hit a base within the nation’s central space, and referred to as it a “new aggression.”

Later, Syria state TV mentioned its air defenses responded to new Israeli raids close to the capital Damascus.

Israel has lengthy complained concerning the involvement of archenemy Iran, and Iranian proxy Hezbollah, within the Syria battle. The Shiite allies have despatched forces to again Syrian President Bashar Assad, who seems headed towards victory after years of preventing. Israel has mentioned it is not going to settle for a everlasting army presence by Iran and its Shiite allies in Syria, particularly close to the Israeli border.

Israel has largely stayed out of the preventing in Syria, cautious of being drawn into preventing between forces which are all against it.

Israel has been warning of late of the elevated Iranian involvement alongside its border in Syria and Lebanon. It fears Iran may use Syrian territory to stage assaults or create a land hall from Iran to Lebanon that might enable it to switch weapons extra simply to Hezbollah.

The Israeli Cabinet lately held a gathering on the Golan Heights close to the border with Syria to spotlight to new threats.

Israel has shot down a number of drones that beforehand tried to infiltrate its territory from Syria. The focusing on of Iranian websites in response, nevertheless, mark an escalation within the Israeli retaliation. The army confirmed that the preliminary goal in Syria — the unmanned plane’s launch elements — was efficiently destroyed. Israel says it has the Iranian drone in its possession.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry declined to remark.

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