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Saturday, 10 February 2018

Israel strikes 12 Iranian targets in Syria over downed fighter jet

Hours after an Israeli F-16 fighter on a raid to destroy Iranian facilities was shot down, the world power has attacked some Iranian targets in Syria.

Earlier on Saturday, Israel's chief military spokesman, Brigadier General Ronen Manelis, said he believes Iran was directly responsible for the incident.

"This is a serious Iranian attack on Israeli territory. Iran is dragging the region into an adventure in which it doesn't know how it will end," he said.

"Whoever is responsible for this incident is the one who will pay the price."

Reuters reports that Israel has kicked off implementation of the threat.

The country's military has struck 12 Syrian and Iranian targets in Syria in what it described as "large-scale" attacks.

"A few minutes ago, [Israeli aircraft]…targeted the Syrian Aerial Defense System and Iranian targets in Syria," a military statement said.

"Twelve targets, including three aerial defense batteries and four Iranian targets that are part of Iran's military establishment in Syria were attacked."

The statement added that "during the attack, antiaircraft missiles were fired towards Israel, triggering alarms that were heard in northern Israel."

Syrian state news agency SANA said Syrian air defenses were responding to a "new Israeli aggression" and a military source said the defenses had thwarted attacks on military positions in the south of the country.

"The Israeli enemy has resumed aggression on some military positions in the southern region and our air defenses have responded to them and thwarted the aggression," Syrian military said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Iran's Foreign Ministry rejected as "ridiculous" reports that Israel had intercepted an Iranian drone launched from Syria, state TV reported.

"Reports of downing an Iranian drone flying over Israel and also Iran's involvement in attacking an Israeli jet are so ridiculous…Iran only provides military advice to Syria," Iranian TV quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi as saying.

However, Russia has voiced serious concern about the latest developments in Syria and called on all sides to avoid an escalation of the situation.

"We urge all sides to exercise restraint and to avoid any actions that could lead to an even greater complication of the situation," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Saturday

"It is necessary to unconditionally respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria and other countries in the region".

"It is absolutely unacceptable to create threats to the lives and security of Russian soldiers that are in the Syrian Arab Republic on the invitation of the legal government to assist in the fight against terrorism," it added.
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