Israel strikes Iranian targets in Syria, IAF pilots eject F-16 

Source: Israel strikes Iranian targets in Syria, IAF pilots eject F-16 – Arab-Israeli Conflict – Jerusalem Post

 FEBRUARY 10, 2018 06:51
Air raid sirens sounded in the Golan Heights and upper Galilee, warning residents of potential rocket strikes.

In a major flare up on Israel’s northern border, Israel carried out a large-scale attack against Syrian air defenses and Iranian targets in the war-torn country after an Israeli F-16 crashed during operations to strike Iranian targets in Syria early Saturday morning.

The operation, which was carried out by eight Israeli jets struck 12 targets in Syria, including thee Syrian SA5 and SA17 air defense batteries and four Iranian targets.

The IDF is striking numerous (12) Syrian and Iranian military targets in Syria, in response to Iranian aggression. More to follow

According to Syrian media reports, Israel struck the Abu Al-Thaaleb airbase near the town of Kiswah, which is home to Syria’s 1st armored division and part of the Islamic Republic’s buildup in Syria.

The Israeli attack was met with anti-aircraft fire, triggering air raid sirens in the Golan Heights and upper Galilee, warning residents of potential rocket strikes. According to IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis, several missiles hit open areas in northern Israel.

“Iran and Syria are playing with fire,” he said. “The results of our strikes are not yet fully known to them (Iran), and they may be surprised when they discover what we targeted.”
Early on Saturday morning, an Iranian drone, which was launched from a Syrian base in the Homs desert, was identified approaching Israeli airspace by the IDF around 4am, setting off alarms across Golan Heights and the Jordan Valley. The drone entered Israel via Jordanian airspace and flew for a minute and a half before it was intercepted by an Israeli Air Force Apache helicopter near the town of Beit She’an.

“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.”

According to Manelis, while the drone was Iranian and navigated by Iranian operators,  Syria’s choice to fire its air defenses against Israeli jets shows that it has chosen to interfere in Israel’s  fight against Iranian activity in the country.

“Iran’s mask has been removed. It is clear that they are using Syria as a launchpad for activity against Israel,” he said. “Iran is dragging the region into an adventure and will pay the price for it.”

In response, Israeli aircraft targeted the drone’s launch site deep inside Syrian territory in a “complicated surgical strike,” in which heavy anti-aircraft missile fire was launched by the Syrians against the Israeli jets.The pilots of the F-16 shot down in northern Israel arrive at Rambam hospital. (SHAI VAKNIN / TPS)

During the operation, Syrian anti-aircraft missiles were fired at the aircraft and the pilots of one of the planes ejected themselves when they recognized that one of the missiles had locked onto their jet.

The pilots fell inside Israel and were evacuated to hospital. The army later cleared for release that one of the pilots was severely wounded while the other one was slightly injured.

The IDF could not confirm whether the jet, which crashed in Beit Netofa Valley in the Lower Galilee, was hit by the anti-aircraft missiles or if it crashed for other reasons.  Brig.-Gen. Bar stated that the entire incident is under investigation.

IDF has targeted the Iranian control systems in Syria that sent the into Israeli airspace. Massive Syrian Anti-Air fire, one F16 crashed in Israel, pilots safe. is responsible for this severe violation of Israeli sovereignty. Event ongoing, more to follow.

An unidentified Syrian military source was cited as saying that the Syrians hit more than one Israeli plane. However, the IDF denied this report and confirmed that only one aircraft was damaged.

It was the first time that Israel lost an aircraft in a combat situation since 2006 when an Israeli Yasour (Sikorsky CH-53) helicopter was shot down over Lebanon, killing the entire crew including the first female flight mechanic in Israel’s heavy transport helicopter fleet.

“The IDF will continue to operate against attempts to infiltrate Israeli airspace and will act with determination to prevent any violations of Israel’s sovereignty,” read an earlier statement by the IDF’s Spokesperson’s Unit. “The IDF is prepared for a variety of scenarios and will continue to act as necessary.”

Israel’s top military brass and intelligence services held high-level consultations at headquarters in Tel Aviv with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and members of the security cabinet briefed on the situation by IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot.

Tensions on Israel’s northern border have been rising in recent months as Israel fears that Iran is entrenching itself deeper into war-torn Syria with its presence on Israel’s borders growing in strength.  The smuggling of sophisticated weaponry and the building a precision missile factory in Lebanon for Hezbollah has also been a growing concern for Jerusalem.

On Thursday, regime forces fired at an IDF drone with shrapnel hitting a home in the Druse village of Majdal Shams in the Golan Heights.

Earlier in the week, Israel was reported to have struck an Iranian base west of the capital of Damascus.  Syria’s official news agency SANA said Israeli fighter jets flying in Lebanese airspace fired a number of missiles towards the area of Jamraya research center targeting an Iranian base. While a number of missiles did hit their intended targets, several others were intercepted by the Syrian air defenses, the report said.

Israel rarely comments on foreign reports of military activity in Syria but has publicly admitted to having struck over 100 Hezbollah convoys and other targets in Syria, with Netanyahu saying that strikes will continue when “we have information and operational feasibility.”

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