Israel goes mad after Syria shoots down its F-16

Israel launched air raids in Syria yesterday after one of its fighter jets crashed while under Syrian anti-aircraft fire. An Israeli spokesman said its aircraft had destroyed 12 military sites including four allegedly occupied by Iranian forces

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed Saturday, February 10 not to allow Iran to establish a military presence in Syria, after Israel launched air raids on what it said were Iranian targets in its Arab neighbor.

The Syrian people are suffering "though one of the most violent periods in almost seven years of conflict", said the United Nations statement.

"Israel wants peace but we will continue to defend ourselves with determination against any attack on us and against any attempt by Iran to entrench itself militarily in Syria or anywhere else", he said.

According to the New York Times, it was the first Israeli jet lost to enemy fire in decades.

The militant Islamic group Hezbollah said the downing of the jet marked the "start of a new strategic phase".

"We will not allow that regime to entrench itself militarily in Syria, as it seeks to do, for the express goal of eradicating our state", Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said during a visit to Washington in December.

"This is the most blatant and severe Iranian violation of Israeli sovereignty in the last years", Conricus told journalists in a phone conference.

"Twelve targets, including three aerial defence batteries and four Iranian targets that are part of Iran's military establishment in Syria were attacked", a military statement said.

Israeli officials wouldn't confirm if the F-16 had been downed by a Syrian missile, as teams combed the crash site for remains to analyze.

Shlomo Mishal, 55, from Beit Shean in northern Israel, said that he was woken by the sirens at around 4:30 a.m. Hadashot News reported the Israeli counterattack in Syria was believed to have destroyed a significant portion of the country's air-defense system. It was not clear if the jet crashed as a direct result of the Syrian fire.

Both pilots ejected and were injured, one critically.

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Earlier, a Syria war monitor said Israel had struck targets in central Syria and the southwestern suburbs of the capital Damascus in two separate and successive waves of airstrikes.

Iran has denied this, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahran Qasemi calling the claim "ridiculous".

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is expected to visit the region in the coming week to discuss Syria and other issues, and is scheduled to visit Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and other countries.

Russian Federation provides significant military backing to the Syrian government.

He also vowed that his country would respond strongly to "all further aggression" from Israel.

Netanyahu has been seeking to persuade Russian Federation to limit Iran's presence near Israeli territory and to stop it from entrenching itself militarily in Syria .

"We waited for it to cross into our territory", said IAF chief of air staff Brigadier General Tomer Bar who stressed that it was important for Israel "to get our hands on the drone that was operated by the Iranians".

One of those planes, a US-made F-16, crashed on its return from that mission, landing in an empty field near Harduf, east of Haifa, in northern Israel.

Israel remain technically at war with Syria and occupies a swath of the strategic Golan Heights that it seized in the Six-Day War of 1967 and later annexed in a move never recognised by the global community.

On Tuesday, Netanyahu took members of his security cabinet for a tour of the Israeli-occupied side, where they were briefed by the military.

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