Within a span of 24 hours the Israeli Air Force lost two aircraft to enemy fire, a significant blow to the heavily militarized nation’s ambitions in the Middle East.
On Saturday, Syrian air defense forces shot down an Israeli F-16 engaged in bombing attacks against president Bashar Al-Assad’s ground troops.
The manned Israeli fighter jet was destroyed over the city of Al-Quneitra on Friday, according to Iran’s Fars news agency. There was no word whether the pilot survived the engagement.
Israel conducted dozens of airstrikes within Syrian airspace on Thursday and Friday, in a bid to ratchet up international pressure on the Iran nuclear deal, according to Israeli newspaper the Jerusalem Post.
Friday’s attacks targeted Western Syria, specifically a government army base at Khan Al-Sheih in Damascus province and another in the al-Quneitra province.
The Israeli attacks supported a siege on the installations by the al-Qaeda-linked group of al-Nusra Front, illustrating Israel’s extensive intelligence within the region.
Just after word of the failed bombing raid emerged, Iran announced it had shot down an Israeli surveillance drone on its western border. While Iranian state sources did not confirm the nationality of the drone it appears only Israel could have operated the aircraft.
“After spotting the drone, our air defence system missiles shot it down,” Farzad Fereidooni, who commanded the anti-aircraft system in Kermanshah province that downed the drone was quoted as saying to the state IRNA news agency.
A spokesman for U.S. Central Command, when asked if the drone belonged to the United States, said: “The Department of Defense can confirm all of its remotely piloted aircraft are accounted for.”
Fereidooni claimed that Iran had on 12 separate occasions over the last year issued warnings to unidentified aircraft that subsequently left Iranian airspace.
Israel declined to comment on the reports.Stay Connected