Israel Tells Russia: Syria Recklessly Fired 20 Missiles at Your Jet

Lebanese outlet says Kremlin asked Israel to conduct new probe, while source says 'deconfliction' process continues as usual

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An IDF delegation meets with their Russian counterparts on the downed Russian jet over Syria in Moscow, September 20, 2018.
An IDF delegation meets with their Russian counterparts on the downed Russian jet over Syria in Moscow, September 20, 2018.Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed officials to continue ongoing talks with Russia following the incident in which Syrian anti-aircraft missiles downed a Russian plane while trying to thwart an Israeli airstrike on Syrian port city Latakia, his office said Friday.

A military source meanwhile said that Syria had recklessly fired 20 missiles at the Russian jet.

Earlier Friday, the Lebanon-based Al Mayadeen TV network reported that Russia did not accept the findings of an Israeli investigation into the incident.

Israel Air Force commander Amikam Norkin (second from the right) meets with senior Russian military officials in Moscow, September 20, 2018.Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit

>>'With Russian presence in Syria, Israel Air Force has to be very precise' Putin has little choice but to allow Israel to continue operating in Syria Moscow seeks to translate Israel's embarrassment into gains on the ground

An Israel Defense Forces delegation travelled Thursday to Moscow in an attempt to ease the tensions caused by the incident. The delegation, headed by the commander of the air force, Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin, offered Russian Air Force commander Lt. Gen. Andrey Yudin their view of what transpired, including the information Israel had prior to its airstrike and the main findings of the IDF inquiry into the incident.

Al Mayadeen's Moscow correspondent reported that the Russians rejected Israel's findings, which consider Russia and Syria responsible for the plane's downing, and asked for Israel to open a new investigation.

According to an Israeli military statement, the delegation presented maps, documents and a presentation showing a step-by-step breakdown of the incident.

A senior military source meanwhile said that Israel's and Russia's "deconfliction" process for their air forces in Syria continued as usual on Friday.

According to the source, Syria fired over 20 missiles at aircraft "in an unprofessional manner" during the incident. The source added that Israel showed Russia that the aircraft was fired upon at a point when Israel's aircrafrt were already landing in Israel.

The source also said that the Israeli delegation presented Russia with "operational and intelligence details regarding Iran's entrenchment in Syria, the transfer of weapons to Hezbollah, and the information the IDF possessed about depots in Latakia that led to Israel's attack."

The Russian embassy in Israel said on Thursday it views the actions of the Israel Air Force over Syria as "irresponsible and unfriendly," saying they exposed a Russian aircraft to danger "and led to the death of 15 servicemen."

Fifteen Russian troops were killed on Monday when a military plane was mistakenly shot down by Syrian air defenses in the Latakia area. After the incident, the Israeli military issued an unusual statement confirming that it had conducted an air strike on a Syrian military facility containing systems for producing precision weapons for Iran and Hezbollah.

The statement takes a stronger tone than Russian President Vladimir Putin, who said after the incident that it looked "like a chain of tragic circumstances, because the Israeli plane didn't shoot down our jet."

"Russia would take all necessary measures to eliminate threat to life and security of our military fighting against terrorism," the embassy's statement on Thursday added.

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