The remains of an F-16 Israeli war plane are seen near the Israeli village of Harduf, Israel February 10, 2018. REUTERS/Herzie Shapira
By Maayan Lubell and Lisa Barrington
JERUSALEM/BEIRUT (Reuters) – Israel said it launched air strikes against air defences and Iranian targets in Syria on Saturday and the Syrian army claimed to have hit an Israeli F-16 that crashed in northern Israel in a major escalation of tension.
The Israeli military said the F-16 jet crashed during a mission to strike Iranian drone installations in Syria, where Iranian and Iran-backed forces have established a major foothold while fighting in support of President Bashar al-Assad.
Israel said it had sent its jets into Syria after shooting down an Iranian drone flying over Israeli territory earlier on Saturday. Israel said its warplanes came under fire in Syria, though it was still unclear why the jet had come down.
“Twelve targets, including three aerial defence batteries and four Iranian targets that are part of Iran’s military establishment in Syria were attacked,” the Israeli military said in a statement.
“During the attack, anti-aircraft missiles were fired towards Israel, triggering alarms that were heard in Northern Israel,” the military said.
Syrian state media reported two separate Israeli attacks.
Categories: The Muslim Times