Israel hits out at Iran after Syria friendly fire incident
23 September, 2018, 19:09
Russia's Defense Ministry on Sunday formally blamed Israel for the downing of the Russian aircraft last week over Syria.
On the night of September 17, a Russian Il-20 reconnaissance plane carrying 15 crew members was shot down just after Israel attacked a weapons depot outside Latikia believed to be connected to Iranian-backed terror.
Following an urgent meeting between Israeli and Russian military officials after the downing of a Russian spy plane over Syria, a 40-page report reveals that Syria shot down the aircraft while responding to an Israeli airstrike.
Russia's Defence Ministry was initially critical of Israel, saying it had only given Moscow one minute's warning before its jets attacked, putting the Russian aircraft in danger of being caught in cross-fire.
All 15 crew members on board the Russian Il-20 reconnaissance plane were killed when it was downed Monday by Syrian air defense forces that mistook it for Israeli jets.
Russian Federation ordered its plane back to base.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered a thorough investigation into the plane crash.
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Gen. Igor Konashenkov said in a statement. Israeli military officials have previously praised the hotline's effectiveness.
"The misleading (information) by the Israeli officer regarding the location of the strikes made it impossible to guide the Il-20 to a safe location", said Konashenkov.
As the Il-20 was landing near Latakia, one of the F-16 planes "began manoeuvres" at 1859 GMT "getting closer to the Il-20", which was interpreted as a repeat attack by the Syrian air defence and resulted in it being shot down, he said.
He referred to efforts by Russian Federation to rein in Iran-backed forces in Syria, including a deal struck in July to keep such fighters 85 kilometers (53 miles) from the Israel-occupied Golan Heights.
Konashenkov said an Israeli fighter jet flying over Syria's Mediterranean coast shortly before the downing deliberately used the Russian plane as a shield, reflecting "either lack of professionalism or criminal negligence".
Israel says it was targeting a Syrian military facility where weapons manufacturing systems were "about to be transferred on behalf of Iran" to Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah.
Initially the incident appeared likely to cause friction between Israel and Russian Federation, with the Defence Ministry in Moscow accusing Israel of indirectly causing it.
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