JERUSALEM – Israel carried out in depth airstrikes inside Syria on Saturday, concentrating on what the Israeli army stated have been air protection batteries and military bases in addition to Iranian positions, in a day of dramatic cross-border confrontations as the specter of a wider regional battle looms.
The Israeli army stated it launched the “giant scale assault” after certainly one of its F-sixteen fighter jets crashed underneath Syrian antiaircraft hearth. Eight Israeli jets had been responding to an incursion by an Iranian drone launched from Syrian territory by bombing a Syrian air base, Israel stated.
Looking for to include Iran and its proxies, Israel has recurrently carried out airstrikes inside Syria, although not on this scale.
If a direct hit on the Israeli plane is confirmed, it will be the primary time an Israeli jet has been introduced down by enemy hearth since 1982. The strikes that adopted have been Israel’s most vital bombardment inside Syria because the starting of the almost seven-yr civil struggle – hitting 12 army websites within the nation – eight Syrian and 4 that Israel stated have been Iranian.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli army officers described the preliminary incursion as an Iranian “assault” and stated it was Israel’s proper and obligation to reply. The Israeli military stated the Iranian drone didn’t cross into Israel accidentally and was on a “mission” however declined to offer additional particulars or touch upon whether or not the drone was armed.
Israel has appeared on with alarm as its archenemy Iran has prolonged its army attain and political affect within the area throughout conflicts in Iraq and Syria. Together with its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah, Iran has offered army help for Syrian President Bashar Assad throughout his nation’s civil warfare, projecting an expanded presence near Israel’s northern border.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who will journey to the Center East this week, reaffirmed in a telephone name with Netanyahu on Saturday that “Israel has the best to defend itself,” stated Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Steven I. Goldstein.
The USA, Goldstein stated, is “deeply involved” concerning the escalation of violence and holds Iran accountable.
However Iranian Overseas Ministry spokesman Bahran Qasemi disputed the Israeli account, describing the declare that an Iranian drone had crossed the border as “ridiculous.” He stated the Syrian authorities had the appropriate to defend itself by capturing down the Israeli jet.