Syria shoots down Israeli warplane as conflict escalates

BBC News | 2/10/2018 | Staff
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An Israeli F-16 fighter jet has crashed after being hit by Syrian air defences during an offensive in Syria, the Israeli military says.

The two pilots parachuted to safety before the crash in northern Israel. It is believed to be the first time Israel has lost a jet in the Syrian conflict.

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The plane was hit during air strikes in response to an Iranian drone launch into Israeli territory, Israel says.

The drone was shot down. Israel later launched further strikes in Syria.

Israel - Defense - Forces - IDF - Defence

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) say they hit aerial defence batteries and Iranian military sites in the latest strikes.

Israeli air strikes in Syria are not unusual, the BBC's Middle East correspondent Tom Bateman says, but the loss of an Israeli fighter jet marks a serious escalation.

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Israel 'strikes Damascus military complex'

Why is there a war in Syria?

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In other developments in the Syrian conflict on Saturday:

How did events unfold on Saturday morning?

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The Israeli military says a "combat helicopter successfully intercepted an Iranian UAV [unmanned aerial vehicle] that was launched from Syria and infiltrated Israel".

It tweeted footage which it says shows the drone flying into Israeli territory before being hit.

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In a further response, the IDF "targeted Iranian targets in Syria", according to the military. The mission deep inside Syrian territory was successfully completed, it said.

After coming under Syrian anti-aircraft fire, the F-16's two crew members ejected and were later taken to hospital. One of them was "severely injured as a result of an emergency evacuation", the IDF said.

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It is the first time Israel has lost an aircraft in combat since 2006 when an Israeli helicopter was shot down over Lebanon by a Hezbollah rocket, the Jerusalem Post reports.

All five crew on board - including a female flight mechanic - were killed in that incident.

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Alert sirens sounded in areas of northern Israel and the Israeli-occupied...
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