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Israel will defend itself against any attack & Iranian foothold in Syria - Netanyahu

11 February 2018, 05:18 | Myrtle Vega

Damascus Warns About'Dangerous Consequences of Israeli Attacks in Syria

Two Israeli air force F-15s

Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 war and has occupied it ever since, annexing the territory in 1981 in a move not recognised by the worldwide community.

What has Israel's involvement in the Syrian war been so far? It fears Iran could use Syrian territory to stage attacks or transfer weapons to the Lebanese group, Hezbollah.

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.

Commander of Quds Force of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Major General Qasem Soleimani in a letter to Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on November 21, 2017, announced the termination of the corrupt tree of ISIS and congratulated the glorious victory to the Islamic World. Now the Syrian government and its allies have introduced red lines of their own.

Tensions between Israel and Iran rapidly flared up following the Saturday incident.

The drone had been sighted taking off from a base in Syria, and was intercepted after it crossed into Israeli territory, said Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus, an Israeli military spokesman.

"Our policy is clear: Israel will defend itself against any aggression and any attempt to violate its sovereignty", Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, as cited by Israeli media.

"I emphasized in the talk with him [Putin] that it is our [Israeli] right and duty to defend themselves from attacks from Syria", Netanyahu said. An Israeli Apache helicopter was able to intercept the drone, after detecting it "early on" and placing it under surveillance, said the IDF. "Iran only provides military advice to Syria", Iranian TV quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi as saying.

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An Israeli F-16 jet that crashed in northern Israel on Saturday had been hit by a Syrian anti-aircraft missile, an Israeli official confirmed. The Israeli military said that early assessments showed it was hit by Syrian anti-aircraft fire, but could not immediately confirm that.

The crew members were taken to hospital; one is reported to be in a serious condition.

Saturday's crash occurred after at least eight Israeli fighter jets launched a retaliatory airstrike against the airfield suspected to have launched the drone. The militant group also said that the developments meant "a decisive end to old arrangements". In countering the aggression, publicly admitted by Tel Aviv, Syrian air defense forces shot down an F-16 war plane. Iran's military chief warned Israel last October against breaching Syrian airspace and territory.

"We share the concerns of many throughout the region that Iran's destabilizing activities that threaten global peace and security, and we seek greater worldwide resolve in countering Iran's malign activities", he added.

The T4 military base struck by Israel on Saturday houses not only Syrian soldiers but Russian military officers, too.

The military alliance fighting in support of Assad denied any of its drones had entered Israeli air space. Awkwardly, late last month, Netanyahu visited Moscow to push Russian Federation to rein in its Iranian allies in Syria. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has said it is unclear whether Russian contractors were among those involved in that advance.

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

Syria over recent months has accused the IAF of invading its airspace and operating without authorization, firing at targets Israel views as hostile.

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