Israeli Air Force Chief Travels To Moscow Amid Shoot-Down Anger

Israeli Air Force Chief Travels To Moscow Amid Shoot-Down Anger

Israeli Air Force Chief Travels To Moscow Amid Shoot-Down Anger

"An Israeli jet did not shoot down our plane", Putin said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that "tragic accidental circumstances" led to the downing by Syria of a Russian warplane with 15 people on board.

Earlier in September, Israel's intelligence minister admitted carrying out 200 strikes in Syria over the past 18 months.

His remarks came just days after Israel targeted a facility in Syria it said was involved in providing weapons to the Iranian-backed Hezbollah, during which a Russian reconnaissance plane was struck by Syrian anti-aircraft fire.

Putin "reminded" Netanyahu that such operations "violated Syrian sovereignty" and said "agreements around the prevention of risky incidents were not observed".

Despite calling it a "friendly fire" incident, the Defense ministry held Israel responsible.

Although Russian President Vladimir Putin acknowledged on Tuesday that there had been "a chain of tragic, accidental circumstances", he did complain to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that "Russian-Israeli agreements on preventing risky incidents had not been observed".

However, the IDF made a rare immediate admission of responsibility on Tuesday, after the Russian Defense Ministry identified Israeli F-16 jets as taking part in the attack, and said the Il-20 aerial observation platform vanished from radars during the strike.

The Russian Il-20 was mistakenly shot down by Syrian air defenses when it was preparing to land in the Moscow-run Hmeimim airbase in Latakia.

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The Israelis expressed their sorrow for the loss of the Russian servicemen but placed the blame squarely on the Syrians.

Israel worries Hezbollah has been improving its capabilities and has acknowledged carrying out scores of strikes in Syria, a lot of them believed aimed at halting suspected arms shipments for Hezbollah.

The Russian plane was downed by Syria's Russian-made S-200 air defense system and all aboard were killed.

In general, regarding Iran's presence in Syria, the U.S. says Iran has to go. However, it was "extensive and inaccurate" Syrian ground fire that downed the Russian plane.

The Russian military also said the ill-fated plane was used as a cover by the Israeli air force, and that Moscow reserves the right to give a due response.

Israel stated it will share all the relevant information with the Russian Government to review the incident and to confirm the facts in this inquiry, with an IDF delegation led by IAF Commander Maj.

Assad's telegram to Putin expressed his "deep condolences" for the servicemen's deaths and blamed Israeli "aggression".

While Israel will very likely continue to strike targets deemed an "intolerable risk" to the Jewish state, Israeli pilots will have to remember the warning Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told his Israeli counterpart Avigdor Liberman: "Such actions will not be left unanswered".

Israel and Russian Federation have been using a deconfliction mechanism in Syria to avoid any unwanted conflict between them.

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