Syrian state news agency SANA quoted an unnamed military source saying that Syrian forces had responded with anti-aircraft fire to an Israeli act of “aggression” against a military base and that more than one Israeli plane had been hit.
The Israeli government said that an Israeli F-16 jet was downed by Syrian anti-air fire after Israel intercepted an Iranian drone launched from Syria. The incident is one of few serious incidents involving Israel, Iran, and Syria amid the Syrian civil war.
The F-16 crashed in the Jezreel Valley in northern Israel where the pilots were taken to hospital for treatment, according to the military, with one seriously wounded and others suffering minor wounds.
In retaliation, Israeli planes carried out on Saturday attacks on “Iranian targets” in Syria after intercepting a drone, with one F-16 fighter downed by heavy anti-aircraft counter fire, Israeli military spokesperson Jonathan Conricus said.
Conricus wrote on Twitter that the plane had crashed in Israel but that the pilots were safe, saying that the incident occurred as Israeli forces attacked “Iranian control systems in Israel” responsible for the launch of the drone.
The military said a “combat helicopter successfully intercepted an Iranian [unmanned aerial vehicle] that was launched from Syria and infiltrated Israel.”
Israel’s targeting of an Iranian site in Syria marks a military and political escalation since the Syrian civil conflict began eight years ago.