Report: Turkey scrambles jets after Israeli craft enters Turkish Cyprus airspace
Citing Ankara army officials, Turkish daily says Israeli craft passed near contentious gas, oil exploration region in Eastern Mediterranean.
An Israeli aircraft repeatedly violated the airspace of Turkish Cyprus earlier this week near the site of a controversial gas exploration field, the Turkish daily Hurriyet reported on Thursday, citing Ankara military officials.
The reported incident is just one in a long line of apparent scuffles between Israel, Cyprus, and Turkey over the rights to explore the eastern section of the Mediterranean for gas and oil.
Late last year, Turkish media reported that Israeli fighter jet were scrambled at a Turkish seismic research ship in the Eastern Mediterranean, saying that two IAF F-15s took off to face the Turkish vessel, flying through the airspace of both Cyprus and Turkish Cyprus.
The report added that the warplanes approached the Turkish ship despite incessant warnings by forces in Turkish Cyprus, according to which the planes had breached the territory's airspace.
Ultimately, the report indicated, Turkey launched two F-16 fighters to track the Israeli planes, at which point the IAF fighter jets returned to Israeli airspace.
According to a Hurriyet report on Thursday, Turkish military officials accused Israel of violating the airspace of Turkish Cyprus on five different occasions on Monday, prompting Turkey to scramble jets in order to chase off the Israeli warplanes.
The report indicated that Turkey's military did not provide any more details concerning the incident and failed to specify which type of craft was involved.
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