Israeli report exposes how Syrian fire took down Russian plane

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei with Revolutionary Guard Corps. Credit Wikimedia Commons

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei with Revolutionary Guard Corps. Credit Wikimedia Commons

Israel has placed the blame for the incident squarely on the Syrian regime which shot Russian-made anti-aircraft battery during the Israeli airstrike last Monday night.

Russian Federation is set to publish a report detailing the circumstances that led to the recent accidental downing of an Il-20 reconnaissance aircraft by Syrian air defenses while they were responding to a wave of Israeli airstrikes.

Israel blamed the incident on Syrian recklessness, while the Russian embassy in Israel said the Air Force's actions were "irresponsible and unfriendly" and exposed the downed plane to danger.

"I told him that we have the right of self defense", Netanyahu said, adding that "there is also very great importance to maintaining the security coordination between Israel and Russian Federation".

Any dispute between Israel and Russian Federation could lessen Israel's ability to carry out air strikes inside Syria against what it regards as the greatest threat to Israel's security from the country's civil war - build-ups of Iranian forces or those of Iran's Shi'ite ally, Hezbollah.

Moscow has accused Israel's fighter pilots of using the bigger Ilyushin as cover, causing Syria's Soviet-era S-200 air defence system to interpret the Russian plane as a target.

Russian Federation ordered its plane back to base. But President Vladimir Putin later called it "a chain of tragic, chance events".

According to the ministry, Israel indirectly caused the incident because at the time of the incident it was attacking targets within Syria and gave Russian Federation a one minute warning.

As the Il-20 was landing near Latakia, one of the F-16 planes "began manoeuvres" at 1859 GMT "getting closer to the Il-20", which was interpreted as a repeat attack by the Syrian air defence and resulted in it being shot down, he said.

Konashenkov said an Israeli fighter jet flying over Syria's Mediterranean coast shortly before the downing deliberately used the Russian plane as a shield, reflecting "either lack of professionalism or criminal negligence".

The Israeli military also noted that its delegation "presented the ongoing Iranian attempts to establish its military presence in Syria and to transfer strategic weapons to the Hezbollah terror organization". Al-Mayadeen reported earlier this week that Russian Federation had rejected Israel's findings regarding the incident.

It has pledged to stop Iran, its main enemy, from entrenching itself militarily in the neighbouring country and has carried out dozens of attacks on Iranian targets there.

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