Israel Launches Airstrikes In Syria After Fighter Jet Crashes

Israel downs Iranian drone and strikes Syria F-16 crashes

Israel said its aircraft targeted 12 sites in Syria in response to an Iranian drone launched from Syria infiltrating its airspace earlier in the day.

It retaliated by sending at least eight jets to attack Syrian and Iranian military bases, which according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights were located near Homs province.

The IDF said its pilots managed to eject themselves and land safely inside their territory.

"Our policy is clear: Israel will defend itself against any aggression and any attempt to violate its sovereignty", Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, as cited by Israeli media.

"The United States is deeply concerned about today's escalation of violence over Israel's border and strongly supports Israel's sovereign right to defend itself", State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.

Israel has issued several warnings about the presence of Iranian forces in Syria. There was an intentional attack, and Israel was forced to respond, first to the threat on her territory, and later to those who acted against it in enmity from Syrian soil.

In a major increase in tensions, Israel on February 10 struck a dozen Syrian and Iranian targets.

He added that Iranian officials are acting in Syria only as advisers and do so "at the request of the... legitimate and lawful government".

State television stations also said that sounds of explosions believed to be from Israeli attacks were heard in the Damascus countryside.

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Conricus, IDF spokesman, maintains Iran is the aggressor and Israel's military is "ready for all scenarios".

It's about setting red lines and testing them without triggering a full scale conflict. It was intercepted after about a minute and a half in Israeli territory by an Apache attack helicopter.

Iran's expanding clout during Syria's almost seven-year-long war, including deployments of Iran-backed forces near the Golan frontier, has raised alarm in Israel, which has said it would act against any threat from its regional arch-enemy Tehran.

"This is a dramatic development", Al Jazeera's Zeina Khodr, reporting from Lebanon's capital, Beirut, said.

Escalation is now up to Iran, and with their hands full in Syria, it's doubtful they want to start a war with Israel.

Israel has carried out scores of strikes in Syria in recent years, largely targeting what it says are advanced weapons stores or convoys taking weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

In response, Israel conducted air strikes against Iranian facilities in Syria and destroyed the Iranian UAV control center. Any new attack will be confronted.

Israeli military spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said Iran is playing with fire by infiltrating Israeli airspace and will pay a heavy price for it.

In Washington, the U.S. said it "fully supports" Israel's right to defend itself against threats, while in Gaza in the occupied Palestinian territories, the armed wing of Hamas declared full alert among its fighters because of the escalation between Syria and Israel.

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