Israel says it has inflicted huge damage on Syrian air defences after one of its fighter jets was brought down during a raid over Syria.
An Israeli Air Force F-35 Lightning II fighter jet. Photo: AFP
The response was the “most significant attack” of its kind against Syria since the 1982 Lebanon war, said senior Israeli air force general Tomer Bar.
The F-16 jet went down during a mission that followed an Iranian drone launch into Israeli territory, Israel said.
The two pilots parachuted to safety before the crash in northern Israel.
Israel said it responded with a second wave of strikes on both Syrian and Iranian military targets operating inside Syria.
Israeli air strikes in Syria are not unusual, BBC Middle East correspondent Tom Bateman said, but the loss of an Israeli fighter jet marked a serious escalation.
Late yesterday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a meeting with his military chiefs. He said Israel wanted peace but would defend itself “against any attack against us or any attempt by Iran to establish itself against us in Syria”.
The UN Human Rights Commissioner, meanwhile, has condemned the recent escalation of violence in Syria and said attacks on medical facilities and civilians could constitute war crimes.
Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said the past week had been one of the bloodiest in Syria since the conflict began in 2011 – with at least 277 civilian deaths reported.