Syrian air defences responding to a new Israeli aggression: SANA


The Israeli military said two pilots had bailed from the downed aircraft "as per procedure".

Israel's military attacked twelve Syrian and Iranian targets inside Syria today (Saturday). Israel says it has the Iranian drone in its possession.

The confrontation was the most serious between arch foes Israel and Iran since the start of the civil war in Syria in 2011. Supporters of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu insist the fact that a sophisticated Iranian drone was sent across the border to test Israel's early-warning capabilities proves he was correct all along, and the main regional threat comes from Iran, which is becoming increasingly present and operational in Syria.

Russian Federation has also called for restraint in Syria to avoid escalating the situation.

"I have recently spoken with Russian President Vladimir Putin", Netanyahu said cited by his press office. "I don't think anybody wants to escalate further".

"Our policy is absolutely clear: Israel will defend itself against any attack and any attempt to harm our sovereignty", he said.

Touching upon the United States policy towards Iran and the sanctions imposed on the Islamic republic, Salami said that Iran remains strong against all odds and could potentially destroy "all American military bases in the region by launching attacks from inside the country".

Israeli then launched airstrikes on a dozen Syrian and Iranian targets in Syria, including on the control center that launched the UVA.

The plane was hit and crashed inside Israel. "We didn't know what was happening, we heard helicopters and planes in the air", said Yosi Sherer, 51, who was staying at a hostel in Beit Shean.

The area was quiet by mid-afternoon.

Israel staged retaliatory air raids on Syrian regime positions in June, following an attack from Syria, and in September downed a Syrian fighter jet as it tried to cross the Golan ceasefire line.

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As a result of the incident, one Israeli F-16 fighter jet came down in northern Israel with pilots able to eject.

Iranian and Iran-backed Shi'ite forces, including Hezbollah, have deployed widely in Syria in support of Assad.

Israel has struck weapons convoys destined for Hezbollah, which is fighting alongside Syrian forces, nearly 100 times since 2012.

Katz noted that Saturday's events did not "spill over into Hezbollah", something he said was a sign of Israel's deterrent capabilities.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahran Qasemi, however, described the Israeli claim as "ridiculous".

Israel has also reportedly hit Syrian government facilities involved in weapons development and an Iranian base under construction in Syria. On a visit to Israel last month, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence called Iran the world's "leading state sponsor of terror". Gen, Tomer Bar said Saturday.

"Israel is our closest security partner in the region and we fully support Israel's inherent right to defend itself against threats to its territory and its people". If the conflict escalates, it could end up adding a risky angle to the ongoing Syrian conflict - and one that could wind up involving other powers in the region and beyond.

"We consider it necessary to unconditionally respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria and other countries of the region. Let no one make a mistake", Netanyahu said.

The statement also warned Israel that it will respond "crushingly and seriously".

Israel remains technically at war with Syria and occupies a swathe 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 worldwide community. Brig. Gen. Tomer Bar, second-in-command of Israel's air force, told Haaretz newspaper that these strikes were "the biggest and most significant attack the air force has conducted against Syrian air defenses" since the 1982 Lebanon War.