World

US 'Strongly Supports' Israel's Right to Defend Itself Against Iran Threat

US 'Strongly Supports' Israel's Right to Defend Itself Against Iran Threat

"The IDF sees the Iranian attack and the Syrian response as a severe and irregular violation of Israeli sovereignty", the Israeli Army said.

The Israeli military said on Saturday "a combat helicopter successfully intercepted an Iranian UAV that was launched from Syria and infiltrated Israel".

"We urge all parties involved to exercise restraint and to avoid any actions that could lead to an even greater complication of the situation", the ministry said.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is expected to visit the region in the coming week to discuss Syria and other issues, and is scheduled to visit Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and other countries. "It is absolutely unacceptable to create threats to the lives and security of Russian servicemen who are in at the invitation of its legitimate government to assist in the fight against terrorists", the ministry said. An Israeli Apache helicopter was able to, after detecting it "early on" and placing it under surveillance, said the IDF. "To cover their crimes in the region, Israeli officials are resorting to lies against other countries", foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi told AFP. The two-man crew ejected from the plane before it crashed on the Israeli side of the border. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor of the seven-year civil war, said the earlier Israeli raids had targeted several military bases in the east of the central province of Homs.

The aviation authorities of Israel have informed that although the airspace is closed for flights in a considerable part of the country, the latter's main airport is operating normally, despite the incident with the Iranian drone and the ensuing Israeli airstrike in Syria, News.am reported citing RIA Novosti.

A military expert talked to Sky News Arabia TV, revealing that he obtained "news that the Israeli F-16 fell inside the Jordanian territory".

The incident in and of itself is a serious event and raises questions as to whether the drone was used as bait by the Iranians to drag Israeli jets into Syria, whose air defenses were laying in wait for them. He added that there was no Iranian or Russian anti-aircraft fire.

The military says it has the drone in its possession.

In Damascus, the official Sana news agency claimed that the DCA had repulsed Israeli planes and hit "more than one", reporting raids on military installations near Damascus in the center and south of the country.

In November, Israel said it shot down a Syrian reconnaissance drone over the demilitarised zone, and on February 8 shots were fired from Syrian territory at an Israeli drone, hitting a house in Majdal Shams, in Israeli-occupied Golan.

The Israeli military released grainy black and white footage of what it said was the drone's control vehicle in Syria being destroyed.

One of the pilots, the army said, has been seriously wounded as a result of an emergency evacuation from his F-16 jet that came under Syrian fire.

A second pilot was lightly injured while abandoning the aircraft.


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