February 18, 2019

Tel Aviv Diary: Is This the Start of an Israeli-Iran War?

11 February 2018, 09:32 | Devin Moran

Northern flare-up: Iran testing Israel, Russia

Israel raids inside Syria since 2013

In a phone conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the air strikes conducted by Israel's Air Force against targets in Syria, the Kremlin said, TASS reports. Israel ordered the airstrikes after it intercepted an Iranian drone that had infiltrated its airspace, and an Israeli F-16 was downed upon its return from Syria.

"This morning Iran brazenly violated Israel's sovereignty", Netanyahu said in his statement issued Saturday night.

Hours before leaving on Saturday, Mr. Tillerson spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, assuring him that the USA supports Israel's right to defend itself, Undersecretary of State Steve Goldstein said.

Following the incident, Yadlin stated, Israel is now "stuck in a hard dilemma between whether to act preemptively or wait for the coming war".

The attacks and counterattacks also were the first time since 1982 that Israel and Syria have engaged in direct combat.

"It is absolutely unacceptable to create threats to the lives and security of Russian servicemen who are in Syria at the invitation of its legitimate government to assist in the fight against terrorists", Russia's foreign ministry said.

"Iran's presence in Syria is essentially advisory and based on requests from that country's legal government", Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghassemi said on Saturday, according to the state-run Mehr news agency. "Iran seeks to use Syrian territory to attack Israel for its professed goal of destroying Israel".

"Israeli attacks are a continuation of an aggressive and risky approach by Israel aimed at supporting terrorist groups, which helps the latter to prolong the crisis in Syria and raises their morale, which sunk due to the gains made by the Syrian army and its allies", the letters said.

"I think that also the Syrians now understand well that the fact that they are hosting the Iranians on Syrian soil harms them", he told The Associated Press.

They were taken to hospital, one of them "severely injured", the Israeli military said.

Earlier, the State Department said it is deeply concerned about today's escalation of violence over Israel's border and strongly supports Israel's sovereign right to defend itself. Then, in September 2007, the Israeli military attacked what it believed was a nuclear facility in Syria's Dayr al-Zawr, in an operation Tel Aviv never claimed responsibility for.

Israel's air force has targeted Syrian military and Hezbollah targets in Syria on an nearly regular basis, but its attacks on Saturday appeared to be the most intense yet.

Israeli air strikes in Syria are not unusual, BBC Middle East correspondent Tom Bateman says, but the loss of an Israeli fighter jet marks a serious escalation. "We will continue to do whatever is necessary to protect our sovereignty and our security".

The NPO Almaz S-200, listed by North Atlantic Treaty Organisation as SA-5 Gammon, is a very long-range, medium-to-high altitude surface-to-air missile system designed in the 1960s to defend large areas from bomber attack or other strategic aircraft.

"Iran wants to turn Syria into Lebanon II - yesterday we received a sampling of what can happen in our region", he added. "We are willing, prepared, and capable to exact a heavy price on anyone that attacks us".

The regime said it intercepted the missiles and destroyed majority, according to SANA.

The sun had barely risen on Saturday, February 10, 2018 when Israel deployed warplanes - reportedly at least two F-16 fighter jets - to conduct an airstrike against a position inside Syria, much as it casually had in the past.

On Sunday Israel announced its plan to hold the largest paratroop drill since 2012, amid heightened tensions on both the southern and northern borders.

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