Israel down Syrian drone on Golan Heights

ANI | Updated: Feb 10, 2018 19:47 IST

Jerusalem [Israel], Feb 10 (ANI): The Israel Army on Saturday shot down a Syrian drone carrying out a reconnaissance mission over the Israel-occupied Golan Heights.

The Russian made drone was intercepted by a Patriot missile in the demilitarised zone between the Israeli-and Syrian-controlled parts of the Golan, Arab News quoted a military spokeswoman as saying in a statement.

The military said its planes faced heavy anti-aircraft counter fire from Syria that forced Israeli pilots to abandon an F-16 jet that crashed in northern Israel.

Two F-16 pilots ejected as the plane went down in northern Israel. The pilots were taken to a nearby hospital.

The pro-Assad military alliance, which includes Iran and Hezbollah, warned Israel on Saturday that any new act of "terrorism" would be met with a "severe and serious response".

Russia called on the two sides to exercise restraint, adding that any threat to the safety of Russian servicemen was "unacceptable".

IDF Spokesman Brigadier General Ronen Manelis said, "Israel identified an Iranian drone which took off from Syrian territory. It was identified by IAF systems and downed by an IAF helicopter. The drone fell in our territory and is in our possession."

The Israeli military in the response of the event struck targets in Syria. Manelis said the targets included the trailer from which the drone was launched. "This was a surgical action deep in Syria, target destroyed."

Rocket sirens sounded for a second time following the downing of the jet. SANA reported explosions in Damascus, calling them new "Israeli aggression".

Israel and Syria are technically at war, though the armistice line on the Golan Heights had remained largely quiet for decades until civil war erupted in Syria in 2011.

Israel seized 1,200 square kilometres (460 square miles) of the Golan Heights from Syria in the six-day war of 1967 and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the international community.

In September, Israel's military shot down an Iranian-made drone operated by Lebanese militant group Hezbollah on a reconnaissance mission over the Golan.

The Lebanese militant group is a key backer of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and has fought alongside his troops against rebel forces.(ANI)