In an official statement, Hezbollah welcomed the downing of the Israeli F-16 on Saturday, saying that it marks the beginning of a “new strategic phase.” Meanwhile, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani commented on the recent developments in Israel and Syria and sent an implicit threat to Israel.
Watch: Israel shoots down Iranian drone, targets its control vehicle
On Saturday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani alluded to the tensions along the Israeli-Syrian border and sent an implicit threat to Israel. “If certain countries think that a solution can be reached by bombing neighboring countries, they are seriously mistaken,” Rouhani stated during a speech in Tehran.
The tensions along the border escalated at around 4:30 AM when an Iranian drone from Syria that entered Israeli airspace was shot down by Israel. In response, Israel attacked the airbase from which the drone took off and the control vehicle that was operating it.
Syrian air defense forces targeted an Israeli F-16 fighter jet that was involved in the attack with over 25 anti-aircraft missiles. The pilots of the aircraft ejected from it before the Syrian missiles hit, landing near Mitzpe Adi. One of the pilots was critically injured. At 11:00 AM, the Israeli Air Force retaliated by launching a large-scale attack near Damascus, destroying over 10 Iranian and Syrian targets.
Iranian’s Foreign Ministry blasted the Israeli claims about the Iranian drone being in Israeli airspace, stating that they are “too ridiculous to be taken seriously.”
Israeli fighter jet (archive) Photo Credit: Yissachar Ruas/TPS
“As a sovereign state, the Syrian government and nation have the legitimate right to defend their territorial integrity against any foreign invasion,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Bahram Qassemi said, according to the ministry’s website.
In a statement, Hezbollah responded to Saturday’s developments along the Israeli-Syrian border, saying that the downing of the Israeli F-16 marks “a new strategic phase that will limit Israel’s use of the Syrian airspace.”
“We are willing, prepared, and capable to exact a heavy price on anyone that attacks us. However, we are not looking to escalate the situation,” Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, Head of the International Media Desk.https://t.co/LdbBdi44rE pic.twitter.com/Boq4Ay1Iju
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) February 10, 2018