Israeli PM: Airstrikes dealt 'severe blows' to Iran, Syriahttp://edition.cnn.com/2018/02/10/middleeast/israel-military-jet-crash
BYBy Andrew Carey, Laura Smith-Spark and Nicole Chavez, CNN
Updated 2124 GMT (0524 HKT) February 11, 2018
(CNN)Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his nation dealt "severe blows" to Iranian and Syrian forces following the weekend downing of an Israeli fighter jet over northern Israel.The Prime Minister said Israel would do so again if necessary. "We made it unequivocally clear to everyone that our rules of action have not changed one bit; we will continue to strike at every attempt to strike at us. This has been our policy and it will remain our policy."An Israeli F-16 fighter jet was hit and went down Saturday in northern Israel after coming under "massive anti-aircraft fire" from Syrian forces, according to the Israeli army. The incident came after an Israeli combat helicopter successfully intercepted an Iranian unmanned aerial drone that had been launched from Syria, the Israel Defense Forces said. Read MoreBoth pilots aboard the Israeli jet ejected, the Israeli army said. One pilot was severely injured during the ejection, while the second was lightly wounded. A picture taken in northern Israel on Saturday shows the remains of the crashed Israeli F-16.In retaliation for the downed jet, Israeli forces attacked 12 targets in Syria, including three aerial defense batteries and four targets described as Iranian, the IDF said. An IDF statement described the four Iranian targets as "part of Iran's military establishment in Syria." Netanyahu defended Israel's actions. "Our policy is absolutely clear: Israel will defend itself from every attack and from every attempt to harm our sovereignty," Netanyahu said. "Iran made such an attempt today. They violated our sovereignty, they infiltrated a drone into Israel's territory from Syrian territory."Netanyahu also spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday night, a key regional player and an ally of both Israel and Iran. Netanyahu reiterated Israel's willingness to defend itself, while adding that military coordination between Russia and Israel over the skies of Syria will continue.Netanyahu also spoke with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who is on his way to the region for an official visit, though he will not be stopping in Israel.The state-run Syrian Arab News Agency reported that Syrian air defense forces had responded Saturday to what they called Israeli "aggression" by hitting more than one Israeli plane following attacks on a Syrian military base by Israeli jets."The Israeli enemy entity early morning at dawn conducted a new aggression against one of the military bases in the central region," SANA said, citing a military source.IDF spokesman Lt Col Jonathan Conricus denied that more than one Israeli jet had been hit, telling CNN that one Israeli aircraft came down, with all others returning safely to base. Syria has fired anti-aircraft missiles at Israeli jets at least three times in recent months. This is the first time they have struck an Israeli jet. Israel claims 82,000 fighters are under Iranian control in SyriaThe assertions by Israel regarding the downed Iranian drone "are too ridiculous to be addressed," Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said Saturday, as quoted by state-run Press TV. "The Islamic Republic of Iran has advisory presence in Syria at the request of the country's legitimate and constitutional government," Qassemi said. "The government and army of Syria as an independent country have a legitimate right to defend (the country's) territorial integrity and counter any type of foreign aggression."Even as the rhetoric between long-time enemies escalated throughout the weekend, the military tension appeared to peak on Saturday afternoon, following Israel's airstrikes against the 12 targets in Syria. Since then, an uneasy quiet returned to the Israel-Syria border -- a familiar feeling in the area -- with no additional strikes or retaliations from either side.