An Israeli F-16 fighter has been shot down by Syrian anti-aircraft fire on a raid to destroy Iranian facilities allegedly responsible for launching a drone into Israel.

The Israeli military claims it shot down the drone and struck Iranian targets in Syria after what it called a “severe and irregular violation of Israeli sovereignty”.

The military says its planes faced heavy anti-aircraft counter fire from Syria that forced Israeli pilots to abandon an F-16 jet that crashed in the Jezreel valley in northern Israel. It said the pilots were injured and evacuated to hospital. 

Sirens sounded in northern Israel as a result of Syrian fire.

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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.

Israeli military spokesman Jonathan Conricus said on Twitter that Iran was “responsible for this severe violation of Israeli sovereignty”.

“IDF (Israel Defence Forces) has targeted the Iranian control systems in Syria that sent the [unmanned aircraft] into Israeli airspace. Massive Syrian anti-air fire, one F16 crashed in Israel, pilots safe,” Israeli military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus said on Twitter on Saturday.


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