Israel pounded positions in Syria with heavy air strikes on Saturday after an Israeli F-16 fighter jet crashed in an incident claimed by the Syrian regime.
The Israeli military acknowledged the warplane’s destruction with initial reports indicating Syrian government forces were responsible, but Israel could not confirm this at the time.
The F-16 warplane was on a mission to strike Iranian drone installations in Syria after shooting down a drone over Israeli territory earlier.
The Israeli Defence Forces confirmed the warplane’s pilot was safe after the jet crashed within the country’s borders.
“One F16 crashed in Israel, pilots safe,” IDF spokesman Jonathan Conricus said on Twitter.
Later, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that “Israel will defend itself against any attack or attempt to violate its sovereignty”.
More details to follow. Image of Israeli F-16 warplane crash site from Reuters news agency.