Israel attacks 12 Syrian, Iranian targets in Syria

Israel attacks 12 Syrian, Iranian targets in Syria

"Reports of downing an Iranian drone flying over Israel and also Iran's involvement in attacking an Israeli jet are so ridiculous..."

Israel's raids came after it had intercepted what it said was an Iranian drone entering its airspace from Syria, which it labeled an "attack".

One of those planes, a US -made F-16, crashed on its return from that mission, landing in an empty field near Harduf, east of Haifa, in northern Israel. An Israeli F-16 was hit by Syrian anti-aircraft fire and its two crew bailed out over Israeli territory. The frontier fell quiet by mid-afternoon.

Iran also issued a joint statement alongside the Syrian regime's allies - Russian Federation and Lebanese militant group Hezbollah - denying the allegations regarding the drone.

(1) Military - Iran and its proxies have structured their forces in Syria and Lebanon to guarantee mass casualties during their next war with Israel - In Syria, Hezbollah says it has 10,000 fighters ready to attack Israel and to create a single front across all of Israel's north and northeast.

The statement also warned Israel that it will respond "crushingly and seriously".

Giving more details on how events unfolded, the IDF's Conricus told CNN an Iranian unmanned drone had been dispatched on a specific mission inside Israel.

Hezbollah has sent thousands of fighters to back the troops of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

They are only just coming through many years of bruising war - a fight with Israel would be hugely destructive.

An official in the pro-Assad alliance said after the downing of the F-16 that a "message" had been delivered to Israel.

"I do not believe matters will develop to a regional war", the official said.

Israeli military spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said Iran is playing with fire by infiltrating Israeli airspace and will pay a heavy price for it.

Netanyahu is seeking to persuade Russian Federation to limit Iran's presence near Israel and to stop it from entrenching itself militarily in Syria.

Last year, Israel pushed back against a partial cease-fire brokered by the United States and Russian Federation, arguing that it allowed Iranian expansion near Israel's borders.

The prime minister said he had spoken with Russian President Vladimir Putin and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson following the escalation of tensions. In Lebanon, Hezbollah has transformed hundreds of villages into "military strongholds", according to the AP, effectively conscripting human shields who will become civilian casualties blamed on Israel, according to the NYT.

There is a machlokes among the analysts if this incident was sufficient to cause a true escalation in hostility between Israel and neighboring nations across her northern border. The Iraqi Nujaba Party of God, a Shiite militia, is also active in Syria and is dedicated to the liberation of the Occupied Golan Heights.

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