Israel Launches “Large Scale Attack” On Syria After Israeli Jet Shot Down

Israel has confirmed that it carried out “a large scale attack” consisting of at least a dozen strikes on Syrian and Iranian military targets inside Syria on Saturday morning.

An Israeli F-16 fighter jet was downed after Syria responded with anti-aircraft fire to an Israeli operation inside its territory, an incident  which has the potential to escalate into all out war.

The flare-up started on Saturday. Israel reported an incursion of an Iranian drone, which it said it downed. Israel later launched a cross-border attack on an Iranian target in Syria, where it believes the drone was launched. Syrian air defenses responded to the attack and downed an Israeli jet. Israel then launched more attacks on Syrian and Iranian targets inside Syria.

A major battle broke out between the Israeli Air Force and Syrian Air Defence Force over the occupied Golan Region, south Lebanon and the west Damascus region.

The Russian foreign ministry said the attacks on targets in Syria are a cause of  very serious concern for Russia.

Zero Hedge reports:

During the confrontation that lasted for hours, Israeli warplanes and Syrian anti-aircraft systems traded missile fire – literally dozens of such munitions were fired – as the latter launched a general attack against ‘Iranian and regime’ bases west of Damascus.

And in a major escalation, one which has the potential to escalate into all out war, at the beginning of the battle,  a Syrian surface-to-air missile downed an Israeli F-16I fighter jet over the occupied Golan Heights (described as ‘northern Israel’ by Israeli sources).

Open war has now essentially broken out between Israel and Syria. Israel confirms through its IDF spokesperson that it has carried out “a large scale attack” consisting of at least a dozen strikes on Syrian and Iranian military targets inside Syria, in what Reuters dubbed a “major escalation of tension”.

What we previously described as Assad’s strategic “waiting game” and reluctance to respond to repeat Israeli violations of Syrian airspace while launching unprovoked attacks appears to be over as Syrian air defense has shot down an Israeli F-16 fighter jet near the Golan border region in what is a major escalation in the conflict.

Though details remain murky and are still developing, Israel has confirmed that its F-16 jet has crashed in Israeli territory after it was struck carrying out operations targeting locations in Syria. The IDF spokesman quickly stated in a tweet confirming the shoot down that “Iran is responsible for this severe violation of Israeli sovereignty.”

Confirmed photographs of the F-16 crash site in Northern Israel, which is reported to be 20-30km from the Syrian border

 

Israeli security forces walk next to the remains of the downed F-16 Israeli war plane near the Israeli village of Harduf, Israel. February 10, 2018. Image source: Reuters

The two Israeli pilots ejected, landing inside Israel in the northern countryside of Galilee and were rushed to a hospital, according to local media reports. Israeli military statements have indicated that one of the pilots suffered severe injuries as a result of the emergency ejection from the aircraft.

Video first posted on social media captured by onlookers in the area appears to show a pilot parachuting into the northern Israeli countryside of Galilee.

Early unconfirmed footage of the F-16 crash and subsequent rescue have emerged on social media. The following shows multiple scenes currently circulating from the early morning incident:

This is the first time in the 7-year long Syrian war that an Israel jet has been shot down, and after promising a swift response, Israel has launched multiple retaliatory strikes against Syrian military bases in the southwest countryside of Damascus.

Beirut-based Al Masdar News reports that the incident occurred at approximately 6:30 A.M. Saturday morning (local time) and that the Israeli F-16 fighter was hit while flying within Syrian airspace near Damascus.

Official Israeli statements claim multiple of its jets were scrambled in response to an Iranian drone launch into Israeli airspace, which the IDF says was intercepted amidst “massive Syrian anti-air fire”. The F-16 was engaged in an operation to destroy the Syrian ground base from which the UAV was launched.

According to the Israeli version of events issued in real time by IDF spokesman Jonathan Conricus:

The Syrian military has stated that its air defense missile system further struck an Israeli drone shortly after the F-16 was downed, which had been launched from the Israeli occupied Golan Heights. There’s not been immediate Israeli confirmation of this second aircraft downing.

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