Russian Embassy: Israel's Irresponsible Actions Led to Death of 15 Servicemen

Russia's Israel embassy: Israel's irresponsible actions led to death of 15 servicemen

Russian air base in Hemeimeem, Syria, March 4, 2016
,AP

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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On Thursday morning, an Israel Defense Forces delegation traveled to Moscow to give the Russians 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. They will also detail Iran’s ongoing efforts to consolidate its military presence in Syria and smuggle strategic weapons to Hezbollah. The delegation is headed by the commander of the Israel Air Force, Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke on the phone with Putin after the incident and expressed his condolences as well, but added that the responsibility for the downing of the Russian plane rests with Syria.