ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – The Israeli army has downed an Iranian drone launched from Syria into Israel’s northern territory, and pounded targets in Syria, an army spokesman said on Saturday.
“We identified an Iranian drone UAV which took off from Syrian territory. The drone was identified by IAF systems and was downed by an IAF helicopter,” Haaretz quoted Israeli army spokesperson Brigadier General Ronen Manelis.
“The Iranian drone fell in our territory and is in our possession,” he added.
Manelis stated that Israel had struck the target deep in Syria where the drone was launched.
He mentioned that two Israeli Air Force pilots ejected their fighter jets during the strike, noting the plane had crashed in northern Israel and the two pilots were taken to the hospital
The Israeli army spokesperson revealed that Syrian anti-aircraft fire triggered rocket sirens in northern Israel, including the Golan Heights.
“As part of the country’s defenses, sirens were activated, but there was no danger for the residents of Beit She’an [a town in northern Israel],” Manelis added.
“This is a serious Iranian attack on Israeli territory. Iran is dragging the region into a situation in which it doesn’t know how it will end. We are prepared for a variety of incidents...whoever is responsible for this incident is the one who will pay the price,” he said.
Meanwhile, Syrian state media said the country’s air defenses opened fire in response to an Israeli act of “aggression” against a military base, adding they had downed “more than one [Israeli] plane.”
“The Israeli enemy entity at dawn today conducted a new aggression against one of the military bases in the central region. Our air defenses confronted it and hit more than one plane,” a military source told Syrian state TV.
It was one of the most serious incidents involving Israel, Iran, and Syria since the start of the Syrian civil war almost eight years ago.
“IDF (Israel Defence Forces) has targeted the Iranian control systems in Syria that sent the #UAV into Israeli airspace. Massive Syrian Anti-Air fire, one F16 crashed in Israel, pilots safe,” Israeli military spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus said on Twitter.
A security source said that Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman would hold a special security assessment meeting soon with the IDF chief of staff and senior army and security officials.
Residents reported hearing the sounds of many blasts in the last few hours and heavy aerial activities in the region near Israel’s borders with Jordan and Syria.
According to the IDF, Israeli fighter jets struck 12 positions in Syria.
“Twelve targets, including three aerial defense batteries and four Iranian targets that are part of Iran’s military establishment in Syria, were attacked,” the military said in a statement.
“During the attack, anti-aircraft missiles were fired toward Israel, triggering alarms that were heard in northern Israel,” the military added.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu paid a rare visit to the Israel-Syria front on Tuesday and warned Israel’s enemies not to “test” its resolve. He did not mention by name Iran or its Lebanese militia ally, Hezbollah, both central players in Syria’s civil war.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany