Israel downs Iranian drone, Syria hits Israeli jet

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Hezbollah earlier said that the downing of an Israeli F-16 marks the "start of a new strategic phase."

The military says it is "ready for various scenarios and will continue to act according to situation assessments".

But both Israel and Syria signalled they were not seeking wider conflict, even as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rushed to military headquarters in Tel Aviv, and the pro-Assad alliance pledged a strong response to any Israeli "terrorist action". "We can not confirm this report on the drone because Israelis are liars ... if Syrians confirm it, Iran will confirm it as well", said Salami, according to a Reuters translation. "This was a defensive effort triggered by an Iranian act of aggression and we are defending our airspace, our sovereignty and civilians", an Israeli military spokesman said on Saturday.

The Israelis launch attacks on 12 mainly Iranian targets around Damascus.

The aviation authorities of Israel have informed that although the airspace is closed for flights in a considerable part of the country, the latter's main airport is operating normally, despite the incident with the Iranian drone and the ensuing Israeli airstrike in Syria, News.am reported citing RIA Novosti.

"The Israeli enemy has resumed aggression on some military positions in the southern region and our air defenses have responded to them and thwarted the aggression", Syrian military said in a statement. Syria responded with "substantial Syrian antiaircraft fire" under which two Israeli pilots ejected from their F-16, which crashed inside Israel, according to the Israeli military.

"I also spoke with the American Secretary of State Rex Tillerson about today's developments and others", said Netanyahu.

Danny Danon, Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, urged the UN Security Council to condemn Iran's actions and halt its "provocations".

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The drone had been sighted taking off from a base in Syria, and was intercepted after it crossed into Israeli territory, said Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan Conricus, an Israeli military spokesman. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor of the seven-year civil war, said the earlier Israeli raids had targeted several military bases in the east of the central province of Homs. The military said that attack caused material damage.

The senior commander said the Zionist regime has been created by the USA and the United Kingdom, adding the Islamic Republic of Iran began to inflict heavy blows on the U.S. since early years of the Islamic Revolution.

The Israeli army claims to have the debris of the drone.

In response, Syria shot down more than one Israeli fighter jets, according the official.

The Israelis were met with heavy anti-aircraft fire and one F-16 is believed to have been struck by a surface-to-air missile.

A second pilot was lightly injured while abandoning the aircraft.

"This is the most blatant and severe Iranian violation of Israeli sovereignty in the last years", Conricus told journalists in a phone conference.

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