It started just before dawn Jerusalem time on Saturday, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) detected an Iranian drone coming from Syria territory and allowed it to enter Israeli airspace for approximately 90 seconds before shooting it down.
They allowed it to enter Israeli airspace so they could examine the wreckage and see what they were dealing with:
The structure and technology of the drone of the were similar to the American unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV or drone) tha Iran seized in 2011 including a “low signature” aimed at avoiding detection. There are rumors but no confirmation that the drone was armed.
— The Times of Israel (@TimesofIsrael) February 10, 2018
Israel’s retaliation for the drone incursion was quick, eight Israeli f-16 planes swept into Syria carrying out strikes deep inside the country blowing up the truck that controlled he drone, and a Syrian airbase Retaliation for the incursion was swift, with eight Israeli F-16s into Syria to carry out retaliatory strikes deep inside the country, including on the vehicle that controlled the drone and an air base used by Iran. The Syrians reacted anti-aircraft missiles and one F-16 crashed in an empty field near the town of Harduf in northern Israel after both pilots were able to parachute to safety. Although not confirmed by the IDF the plane was likely hit by an anti-aircraft missile. One of the pilots was severely injured, the second only mildly hurt.
Using their words, the Israeli response to the downing of their F-16 was “large-scale,” striking a dozen Syrian and Iranian targets inside Syria.
According to Israels Hadashot News the Israeli counterattack in Syria may have destroyed a significant portion of the country’s air-defense system.
“The Syrians and the Iranians, from our point of view, are playing with fire. The Syrians are playing with fire when they allow the Iranians to attack Israel from their soil. We are willing, prepared, and capable to exact a heavy price on anyone that attacks us. However, we are not looking to escalate the situation,” Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, Head of the International Media Desk.
The IDF sees the Iranian attack and the Syrian response as severe violations of Israeli sovereignty. The IDF will continue to act against any attempt to infiltrate Israeli airspace and will act with determination to prevent any breach of Israeli sovereignty.
Keep in mind Iran and its proxies had been escalating their threats to attack Israel over the past few weeks. Hezbollah threatened to attack Israel for a range of reasons, from energy resource disputes to the Israelis building a border fence. Iranian cleric Ayatollah Ebrahim Raisi, one of the front-runners to be the next Iranian Supreme Leader, toured the Israeli-Lebanese border and boasted about operations to secure “Jerusalem’s liberation”
Iran has an advanced drone program, including suicide drones it distributes to proxies such including Syria and Hezbollah…