The Israeli army decided to shoot down an Iranian drone over Israeli territory in an attempt to prove Tehran’s was operating in Syria against Israel, the military said on Saturday.
The Israeli army said that Iran and its Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force, which is respondible for its operations abroad, have been active for a long period of time from the T-4 Syrian air force base near to Palmyra, supported by the Syrian army and with the approval of the Assad regime.
According to estimates from Israeli intelligence, the Iranians are using the base for transferring weapons, including to Hezbollah.
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In response to the incursion by an Iranian drone, Israeli aircraft stuck Iranian targets in Syria, with a barrage of Syrian air-defense missiles bringing down an Israeli F-16 over Israel. Following the downing of the Israeli fighter jet, Israel said it carried out "large scale strikes" in Syria targeting Syrian air-defense batteries and four Iranian sites.
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Brig. Gen. Tomer Bar, second in command of Israel's Air Force, said Saturday that the Israeli strike in Syria Saturday morning – after an Israeli F-16 was shot down – was "the biggest and most significant attack the air force has conducted against Syrian air defenses" since the 1982 Lebanon War.
Bar added that "the drone control vehicle was moving and we succeeded in hitting it – also an impressive achievement given the conditions on the ground." Israel, he said, waited for the drone to enter its territory and "chose where to bring it down."
On Saturday, the IDF released photographs of the Iranian drone.