The Israeli army revealed that an Israeli F-16 fighter jet crashed Saturday in northern Israel after coming under "massive anti-aircraft fire" from Syrian forces.
In the statement, the Israel Defense Forces said the incident came after an Israeli combat helicopter successfully intercepted an Iranian unmanned aerial vehicle that had been launched from Syria.
The two pilots aboard the Israeli jet are safe, although one pilot was severely injured as a result of an emergency evacuation from the plane. It all happened as Israeli forces attacked 12 targets in Syria, including three aerial defense batteries and four targets described as Iranian. The video below shows the extent of the damage.
<blockquote class="twitter-video" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Unconfirmed video shows the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Israel?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Israel</a> fight jet that crashed in an open area between Shefa Amr & Nazareth in the northern Galilee region after 2 F-16 fighter pilots were forced to abandon their jet during the operation targeting <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Syria?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Syria</a> base <a href="https://t.co/9lpaHPXAe3">pic.twitter.com/9lpaHPXAe3</a></p>— SaadAbedine (@SaadAbedine) <a href="https://twitter.com/SaadAbedine/status/962234553807982593?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 10, 2018</a></blockquote>
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The four Iranian targets have been described by the IDF as "part of Iran's military establishment in Syria." The statement added that: "The IDF will act determinately against such severe violations of Israeli sovereignty by Iran and Syria and will continue to act as necessary."
According to Syrian state news agency SANA, the Syrian air defense forces had responded Saturday to what they called an Israeli "aggression" by hitting more than one Israeli plane, following attacks on a Syrian military base by Israel jets. "The Israeli enemy entity early morning at dawn conducted a new aggression against one of the military bases in the central region," SANA said, citing a military source.
According to IDF spokesman Jonathan Conricus, only one Israeli aircraft had come down, with all others returning safely to base. The cause of the F-16 crash is being investigated, Conricus said. The tweet said that "Iran is responsible for this severe violation of Israeli sovereignty."
The Syrian regime had earlier this week claimed that Israel warplanes fired several missiles from Lebanese airspace targeting a Syrian military position in the Damascus countryside, SANA reported. The Syrian regime said they intercepted the missiles and destroyed most of them.
The tensions between Israel and Syria have escalated in recent months. Dozens of strikes have been conducted by Israel as it defends what it calls its red lines, and to prevent what it says is Iran's proxy Hezbollah from acquiring advanced weaponry.
Syria was also accused by authorities in November of violating the 1974 ceasefire agreement by "conducting construction work" in the northern part of the Golan Demilitarized Zone.
The United Nations called Tuesday for a month-long humanitarian ceasefire throughout Syria as fighting escalates in certain areas.
The airstrikes have been recently intensified by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime against rebel-held areas such as Syria's northwestern Idlib province, prompting tens of thousands of civilians to flee their homes.