Israeli F-16 Crashes After IAF Downed Iranian Drone, Attacked Targets In Syria [VIDEOS]

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The crashed F-16 near Kibbutz Harduf

The the (VIDEOS IN EXTENDED ARTICLE)

An Israel Air Force fighter jet was targeted by Syrian anti-aircraft fire, forcing the pilots to bail out. The plane crashed near Kibbutz Harduf in the Lower Galil south of Shfaram on Shabbos. B’chasdei Hashem the crashing plane did not result in injuries or damage. One member of the crew sustained serious injuries and the second light, as they parachuted to safety.

An air force chopper picked up the wounded crew and transported them to the trauma unit of Rambam Medical Center in Haifa. Officials at Rambam report the condition of the seriously injured crew member has stabilized and the medical team remains optimistic. The second crew member is likely to be released from the hospital in a day or so.

The escalation began with an incursion into Israeli air space by an Iranian pilotless aircraft (Drone), which officials report appears to have crossed the border from Jordan. Israel retaliated by targeting the location the drone originated from, as well as several other Iranian locations deep in Syria.

The following ideo shows the IAF pilot downing the drone:

The sudden escalation offers what could be a harbinger of what lies ahead as the Syrian fighting winds down and an emboldened Iran establishes a military presence that Israel vows it will never accept. Syria over recent months has accused the IAF of invading its airspace and operating without authorization.

Israel has issued several stern warnings of late about the increased Iranian involvement along its border in Syria and Lebanon. The Israeli Cabinet just held a meeting near the Syrian border to highlight the new threats, which it attributes to Iran’s growing confidence given the success of the government of Bashar Assad in the Syrian civil war thanks to their support.

Israel called the drone infiltration a “severe and irregular violation of Israeli sovereignty” and warned that Iran would be held accountable for its meddling, raising the specter of a larger confrontation in an area that has remained largely stable since a monthlong war between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006.

“This is a serious Iranian attack on Israeli territory. Iran is dragging the region into an adventure in which it doesn’t know how it will end,” Israel’s chief military spokesman, Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis, said in a special statement. “Whoever is responsible for this incident is the one who will pay the price.”

IAF Brigadier-General Tomer Bar said that the drone, which was shot down in the Beit Shean area on Shabbos, entered Israel via Jordan and did not directly cross the Syrian-Israeli border, adding that the Iranians were trying to outwit the IDF’s detection and defense systems. “They estimated that we would not discover them,” said Brigadier-General Bar.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-General Gadi Eizenkott convened top intellegence and military brass at military headquarters in Tel Aviv for long hours of emergency consultations throughout Shabbos to discuss their next steps.

Netanyahu said he spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin and vowed to strike back hard.

“Iran seeks to use Syrian territory to attack Israel for its professed goal of destroying Israel,” he said. “Israel holds Iran and its Syrian host responsible for today’s aggression. We will continue to do whatever is necessary to protect our sovereignty and our security.”

Video of  F-16 crew parachuting to safety inside Israel:

Chopper transporting wounded crew arrives at heliport of Rambam Medical Center:

Israel also appealed to the United Nations Security Council to denounce Iran’s aggression and “put an immediate end to Iranian provocations.”

Israel would not confirm whether its aircraft was actually shot down by enemy fire, which would mark the first such instance for Israel since 1982 during the first Lebanon war.

Photos of the downed F-16:

Israel fears Iran could use Syrian territory to stage attacks or create a land corridor from Iran to Lebanon that could allow it to transfer weapons more easily to Hezbollah — Lebanon’s Iranian-backed political party and militant group sworn to Israel’s destruction. Though Israel has largely stayed out of the Syrian conflict, it has struck weapons convoys destined for Hezbollah — which is fighting alongside Syrian forces — almost 100 times since 2012.

But Israel has refrained from striking Iranian sites directly. Syria has also repeatedly said it will respond to Israeli airstrikes but has rarely returned fire. Both of those trends came to an abrupt end Saturday as a rapid escalation played out in the early morning hours.

At dawn, Israel said it shot down an Iranian unmanned aircraft that penetrated its airspace and then destroyed the Iranian site in central Syria that it said launched it. Upon their return, Israel’s jets came under heavy Syrian anti-aircraft fire and the pilots of one of the F-16s had to eject and the plane crashed in northern Israel.

In subsequent attacks, the Israeli military said it struck four additional Iranian positions and eight Syrian sites, causing significant damage. The Israeli jets again faced a heavy barrage of anti-aircraft missiles but returned home safely, as large explosions were reported in Syria and warning sirens blared in northern Israel.

Israel says the strikes destroyed the main command and control bunker of the Syrian military and marked its most devastating assault against Syria in decades.

Iran denied Israel’s shooting down of a drone, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasem calling the account “ridiculous,” while the joint operations room for the Syrian military and its allies insisted the drone had not violated Israeli airspace and was on a regular mission gathering intelligence on ISIS militants.

Regardless, Hezbollah said Saturday’s developments signaled a “new strategic phase” in engaging Israel, which has been mostly off the guerrilla group’s radar as it has been knee-deep in the fighting in Syria.

Former Syrian lawmaker and political commenter Sharif Shehade said the anti-aircraft fire marked a political decision in Syria to respond to Israeli strikes, and that tensions would continue to rise unless Washington and Moscow intervened to calm the situation.

“It is a decisive decision to confront the Israeli air force and its careless behavior,” he told The Associated Press in Damascus, “I think what happened today is a lesson for Israel.”

However, a former Israeli Air Force pilot, retired Lt. Col. Reuven Ben-Shalom, said the fierce Israeli response actually sent “very clear messages” to the other side, showing Iran how deep Israel’s knowledge was of its activity in Syria.

“The fact that a drone like this is identified, tracked and intercepted so smoothly by the Israeli air force demonstrates our capabilities, demonstrates our resolve not to allow the breach of Israeli sovereignty,” he said. “I think it’s good that our enemies learn and understand these capabilities.”

Military spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said Saturday’s incident marked the most “blatant and severe violation of Israeli sovereignty” yet. He said while Israel had no interest in further escalation it was prepared to “extract a heavy price” for such aggression.

By directly sending the drone into Israel on a military mission, Conricus said Iran was “playing with fire.”

Russia, which backs Assad and maintains a large military presence in the country, called for restraint and appeared to criticize Israel’s actions.

“It is absolutely unacceptable to create threats to the lives and security of Russian servicemen who are in Syria at the invitation of its legitimate government to assist in the fight against terrorists,” Russia’s foreign ministry said.

Israel has long complained about the involvement of archenemy Iran, and Iranian proxy Hezbollah, in the Syria war. Both have sent forces to back Assad, who appears headed toward victory after years of fighting. Israel has said it will not accept a permanent military presence by Iran and its Shiite allies in Syria, especially near the Israeli border.

Israel has shot down several drones that previously tried to infiltrate its territory from Syria. The capture of an Iranian drone and the targeting of Iranian sites in response, however, marked a dramatic escalation in the Israeli retaliation. Israel said it had recovered the remnants of the drone, which proved that it belonged to Iran.

The drone was a sophisticated pilotless aircraft
According to experts, this is a UAV with a piston wing that resembles the US RQ-170, a stealth-capable drone and a jet engine that Iran fell in 2011. In October 2016, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards displayed copies of the RQ-170 that they had produced. The drone was downed by an IAF Apache chopper, as seen in the accompanying video.

The downing of the Iranian UAV is a technological and operational achievement for the IDF, which chose to bring it down in the Jordan Valley and not across the border to understand the characteristics of the aircraft and to know the technologies that the Iranians were able to develop or acquire. According to Brigadier-General Bar, “the UAV demonstrates technological progress.”

Israeli experts also estimated that the drone would be of great interest to the American defense establishment in particular and to Western countries in general, which are closely monitoring the Iranian defense industries.

(AP/ YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)




14 COMMENTS

  1. Yeshiva world how do you post videos which were recorded on shabbos? besides the מיאוס of promoting chillul shabbos you are earning money off other peoples chillul shabbos. isn’t that assur? what does Rabbi Hoffman have to say about that? what do the readers have to say about that? is this really a frum news website?

  2. B’chasdei Hashem the crash did not result in injuries or damage.

    One member of the crew sustained serious injuries and the second light.

    Officials at Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center report the condition of the *seriously injured* crew member has stabilized and the medical team remains optimistic

    PLEASE GET THE STORY STRAIGHT

  3. Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman … for long hours of emergency consultations throughout Shabbos This was HaShem’s plan to keep Avigdor Liebrman away from Ashdod where Lieberman had planned to go to promote mass Chillul Shabbos.

  4. resident of israel, then dont watch. this is clearly extenuating circumstances. when sirens are blaring, brave jews are ejecting from burning jets and are injured shabbos is secondary.

  5. Iran is involved?
    Oh please. Fake news.
    Cory Booker, Kristen Gillibrand, Chuck Schumer, and Jerry Nadler told us that Iran are a bunch of little lovable creatures who would never harm a fly. John Kerry and Susan Rice will back that up.
    This is a fake news story put out by Trump who is trying to tarnish the African American, Obama’s, legacy.
    We should be sending more taxpayer cash to Iran.

  6. To the comment that Shabbos is secondary:
    Why use such terminology?
    Maybe it is permissible for the army to film this important incident on Shabbos. Maybe they asked a Druze soldier to film it.

  7. To Resient of Israel
    .Who cares when the video was filmed?? The brave airmen of the IAF were out there today protecting you and risked their lives in the proocess. Perhaps you should post your location so the terrorists know that you are ehrliche yid and strictly shomer shabbos and you will not allow any yid to do anything to protect you and your family on shabbos.

  8. To Avraham: If a non-Jew were hired to make a video on Shabbos, it would still be an Issur D’Rabbanan of Amira L’Nochri. However, this is only if a non-Jew were hired to (for instance) film a Shabbos Sheva Brochos or Bar Mitzva.
    In this case, we are dealing with a security video. Security videos are made automatically from a WebCam that is set before Shabbos and is not (usually) touched at all by anybody during Shabbos or any other time. What’s more usually the video is not used for anything at all except perhaps to quickly review. Security videos have a different Din than videos shot with a phone or other manually started/stopped devices. I think the heter is “Shmor Nafshecha” which can make a heter for an issur D’rabbanan.
    To Resident of Israel: Who paskened that this is “Chillul Shabbos”? When an enemy crosses the border, we are supposed to repel them – even if it involves violating Shabbos. The Iranian Drone was shot down over Beit She’an. The videos are made automatically as part of the operation, so that the army can learn what they did right and what they did wrong. Even the video of the helicopter landing at the hospital appears to have been made by a security camera on a nearby roof – not chiloni news reporters. You are correct that if a chiloni news reporter made the video there would be a problem, but I don’t see any evidence of that.
    I assume that the Shuls in Israel have security cameras just like the Shuls in America. If there are security cameras in the Shul where you daven, it means that the Rov of your Shul has paskened that it is mutar to make security videos on Shabbos. Please go and ask him why it is mutar to make these security videos on Shabbos and what heter he has to view those videos after Shabbos. Hopefully that will resolve the issue.

    While you are asking, you might also ask whether it is mutar to go to the Kotel on Shabbos. It can be assumed that the entire Old City has security cameras tracking every move you make, and that they are watched in real time by Jews. Perhaps the fact that there is no danger at the moment and that the person watching the video is probably a Jew who is being paid to watch the video feed on Shabbos makes a difference in the Din. If you are a Chazon Ishnik who doesn’t use electricity on Shabbos (in Israel), I would guess this has the same Din.

    Wishing you Bracha and Hatzlacha in Shimras Shabbos,

    TrueBT

  9. You are ‘Straightup’ – wrong!! The fighting, ejecting, and taking care of the medical needs may have been necessary for the ‘brave jews’ (though that also may be up for debate), but I’m pretty sure that taking videos of the situation, didnt help the wounds to be treated any faster, and are thus completely assur to have been taken. Please dont be so quick to put our Heilige Shabbos in second place.

  10. straightup — so you’re a posek halacha too? Talk about megaleh ponim ba’Torah…. B”H, it was only a plane and the pilots are alive. So, why do you push Shabbos to a secondary position? Because you want to see the live action video?
    A disgraceful comment that ought not appear on a frum website.

  11. First comment is right. Videos most likely filmed by yidden on shabbos. Even If they were bemeizid, Ossur for them and others they filmed for forever, mutar for others after shabbos.

  12. Again, B’H, the pilots are OK, the brave men and women of the IAF performed their missions heroically and continue to protect and save the lives of all Israelis, including the vile creatures who attack them while they walk the streets of Yerushalayim Yet there are some mindless yidden who debate the fine points of who was the videographer. At some pont you have to wonder…..