Jerusalem (February 11, 2018): Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his nation dealt “severe blows” to Iranian and Syrian forces following the weekend downing of an Israeli fighter jet over northern Israel.
The Prime Minister said Israel would do so again if necessary. He said, “We made it unequivocally clear to everyone that our rules of action have not changed one bit; we will continue to strike at every attempt to strike at us. This has been our policy and it will remain our policy.”“Our policy is absolutely clear: Israel will defend itself from every attack and from every attempt to harm our sovereignty,” Netanyahu said. “Iran made such an attempt today. They violated our sovereignty, they infiltrated a drone into Israel’s territory from Syrian territory.”
Netanyahu also spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday night, a key regional player and an ally of both Israel and Iran. Netanyahu reiterated Israel’s willingness to defend itself, while adding that military coordination between Russia and Israel over the skies of Syria will continue.Netanyahu also spoke with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who is on his way to the region for an official visit, though he will not be stopping in Israel.
An Israeli F-16 fighter jet was hit and went down Saturday in northern Israel after coming under “massive anti-aircraft fire” from Syrian forces, according to the Israeli army.
The incident came after an Israeli combat helicopter successfully intercepted an Iranian unmanned aerial drone that had been launched from Syria, the Israel Defense Forces said.
Both pilots aboard the Israeli jet ejected, the Israeli army said. One pilot was severely injured during the ejection, while the second was lightly wounded.
In retaliation for the downed jet, Israeli forces attacked 12 targets in Syria, including three aerial defense batteries and four targets described as Iranian, the IDF said.
An IDF statement described the four Iranian targets as “part of Iran’s military establishment in Syria.”