Israel’s top Military leaders were weighing the country’s next move Saturday after Israeli forces shot down an Iranian drone that infiltrated the country — and conducted raids in Syria, where they believe the drone was launched.
One Israeli pilot was reported to have been seriously wounded after an emergency evacuation after his F-16 jet came under Syrian fire. The jet crashed in northern Israel.
A second pilot was lightly wounded.
Israel’s military described the drone infiltration as a “severe and irregular violation of Israeli sovereignty.” Military spokesman Jonathan Conricus said Iran was “responsible for this severe violation of Israeli sovereignty.”
The drone was in Israel’s possession, the military said.
According to Syrian state TV, which quoted a military official, Syrian air defenses struck more than one Israeli plan, and called the Israeli raids that hit a base a “new Israeli aggression.”
Israel’s military said it was “fully prepared for further action” as it monitors the situation.
Although Israel has shot down several drones from Syria that have infiltrated the country’s territory in the past, the attack on an Iranian site in response to Saturday’s incident signals an escalation in the Israeli retaliation.
The military confirmed the Syrian target of the drone’s launch components were destroyed.
Iranian involvement along Israel’s border in Syria and Lebanon has been a growing concern as it fears Iran could use the region to position attacks or develop a land route from the country to Lebanon in an effort to deliver weapons to Hezbollah more efficiently.
Israel’s chief military spokesman, Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis, said Israel held Iran directly responsible for the incident.
“This is a serious Iranian attack on Israeli territory. Iran is dragging the region into an adventure in which it doesn’t know how it will end,” he said in a special statement. “Whoever is responsible for this incident is the one who will pay the price.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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