Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Israel says keeps Syria freedom of action despite downed Russian Federation plane

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel is"constantly alert to the dangers that threaten
Deanna Wagner | 22 September, 2018, 19:08

He denied reports that Russian officials had rejected the Israeli conclusions, adding that Israel would continue to constantly review the existing protocols with Moscow.

A high-level Israeli military delegation visited Moscow on Thursday to present detailed information related to the downing of a Russian warplane by Syrian forces that responded to an Israeli air raid.

Israel, which carries out regular strikes against pro-government forces in war-torn Syria, has a de-confliction agreement with key regime backer Russian Federation to avoid clashes between their respective air forces.

Russia's foreign ministry on Thursday demanded "further inquiries and explanations from Israel", on the incident. It said the Syrian army fired the missiles that hit the Russian plane when the Israeli jets had already returned to Israeli airspace.

It also said "new information" on the incident would "emerge soon", without elaborating. "Putin said that many mistakes were made during the incident and that he expected the facts to be examined".

Former Israeli general and National Security Council Chief Yaakov Amidror said he does not expect Iran to leave the 2015 nuclear deal, despite political pressures that followed the United States' departure this year.

The target of the Israeli strike was an ammunition facility that Israel said held weapons set to be transferred to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

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The Israeli military has said its fighter jets were targeting a Syrian military facility involved in providing weapons for Iran's proxy Hezbollah militia and insisted it warned Russian Federation of the coming raid in accordance with deconfliction agreements.

But the Russian Defense Ministry charged that the Israeli warning came less than a minute before the strike, leaving the Russian aircraft in the line of fire. It was during this time that the Russian spy plane was said to have been shot down.

Initially the incident appeared likely to cause friction between Israel and Russian Federation, with the Defence Ministry in Moscow accusing Israel of indirectly causing it. The Israeli military says it warned Russian Federation in advance about the strike, while Moscow said it received notice "less than a minute" beforehand, preventing it from getting its troops out of harm's way in time.

The delegation claimed that the Russians did have sufficient advance notice, but failed to divert the plane from harm's way after it had completed its surveillance mission.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, speaks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as they prepare to deliver joint statements after a meeting and a lunch in the Israeli leader's Jerusalem residence, Monday, June 25, 2012.

Following a series of discussions between senior Israeli and Russian officials, Putin said he did not blame Israel for the downing of the spy plane and instead ascribed it to a "chain of tragic accidental circumstances".

He said Iran "openly calls for the destruction of Israel". "We acted as we always act", the defense minister said.