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Israeli Military Blames Syria for Downing Russian Warplane

19 September 2018
Israeli Military Blames Syria for Downing Russian Warplane

He did not elaborate but said "these will be the steps that everyone will notice".

Russia's Defense Ministry has said that one of its military aircraft "disappeared" over the Mediterranean during an Israeli air attack on Syria.

Russia's Defense Ministry specified that "the mark of IL-20 went off the radars and disappeared during the attack of four Israeli F-16 aircraft on Syrian targets in the province of Latakia".

"By using the Russian plane as a cover, the Israeli air pilots made it vulnerable to Syrian air defense fire", Konashenkov said.

Israel also said it would share information with the Kremlin to "review the incident and to confirm the facts in this inquiry".

At the time of this writing, neither the Syrian nor Israeli government has commented on the downed Russian military plane.

The IDF said Syrian anti-aircraft batteries had fired "indiscriminately" in response to Israeli airstrikes and "did not bother" to ensure that no Russian planes were in the air. It is unclear whether the Israeli military notified Russian Federation ahead of Monday night's attack in Latakia.

Throughout the fighting, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has maintained continuous contact with Russian Federation.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu discussed the matter with his Israeli counterpart Avigdor Lieberman on Tuesday, warning that Moscow could retaliate with unspecified "measures". Fifteen Russian servicemen were killed during the incident, but officials in Moscow and Tel Aviv moved quickly to defuse tensions even though the Russian Ministry of Defense initially responded with fury against the Israelis. It blamed Israel for the crash, saying the plane was caught in the crossfire as four Israeli fighters attacked targets in northwestern Syria.

A United States official with knowledge of the incident said the regime was actually trying to stop a barrage of Israeli missiles that occurred on Monday.

It expressed "sorrow" for the Russian deaths, but insisted the Russian plane had been felled by "extensive and inaccurate Syrian anti-aircraft (surface-to-air missile) fire". "As a result, the Il-20. was shot down by the (Syrian) S-200 missile system", Konashenkov said. "This is absolutely out of line with the spirit of Russian-Israeli partnership".

The fate of the military personnel is "unknown", the ministry said in a statement which was carried by Russian news agencies.

It said the Israeli raid late on Monday targeted a Syrian military facility where weapons manufacturing systems were "about to be transferred on behalf of Iran" to Lebanese Hezbollah.

Sima Shine, a former senior Mossad official and ex-deputy director-general at the Strategic Affairs Ministry, told Israel's Army Radio station that the shooting down is problematic both militarily and internally from a Russian perspective.

Russia blamed Israel after Syria shot down a Russian plane above the Mediterranean during an air battle on Monday night. In some cases, those countries are backing opposing sides in the Syrian war.

The Russian defense ministry said Israel warned them of the impending strike "less than a minute" before it began, which left them insufficient time to clear their personnel from the area.