Israel to present findings in Moscow over downing of Russian plane

Israel to present findings in Moscow over downing of Russian plane

Moscow's embassy in Tel Aviv lashes out at Israel for its "irresponsible and unfriendly actions", which led to the deaths of 15 Russian servicemen aboard an ill-fate aircraft in Syria, as Israel's air force commander visits Russia to give explanations on the tragic incident. The plane is reportedly a Boeing 747 of the airline Fars Air Qeshem, linked to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, which had been converted into a cargo plane.

It will also provide information on "Iranian attempts to transfer strategic weapons to the Hezbollah terror organisation and to establish an Iranian military presence in Syria", the statement said.

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

Israel has vowed to stop its arch-foe Iran, which backs the Assad regime, from entrenching itself militarily in neighbouring Syria.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered Russian Federation "all necessary information" to investigate. The downing late Monday, which killed 15 Russia servicemen, triggered an angry statement from the Defense Ministry blaming Israel, whose aircraft were attacking when Syrian forces fired the missile that hit the Russian Il-20.

A Lebanese Shiite supporter of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah group, holds a portrait of Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, during activities to mark the ninth of Ashura, a 10-day ritual commemorating the death of Imam Hussein, in a southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018.

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"No one can force us to withdraw from Syria and as long as the Syrian leadership needs us we will stay there", Hizbullah's chief emphasized.

The Russian plane was downed by a Russian-made S-200 air defence supplied to Syria. Expressing regret at the loss of life, Israel denied wrongdoing and blamed what it called wanton Syrian anti-aircraft fire after its jets had withdrawn back over the border.

In the early hours of Tuesday, Israeli F-16s entered Syrian airspace with a view to striking Syrian military targets in the northwestern Latakia province.

"The label marking the Ilyushin-20 on the navigation control radar disappeared at the time when four Israeli F-16 jets were delivering strikes at Syrian facilities in Latakia Governorate", the Russian report said. "Israel will share all the relevant information with the Russian Government to review the incident and to confirm the facts in this inquiry", the IDF said. "Fortunately for the Israelis, it was the Syrian military who shot down the plane".

Nasrallah, in his speech, also claimed Israeli strikes in Syria to prevent Hezbollah from acquiring precise missiles had proven ineffective.

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".

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