Hezbollah 'has precision rockets despite Israeli strikes in Syria'

Hezbollah 'has precision rockets despite Israeli strikes in Syria'

Hezbollah 'has precision rockets despite Israeli strikes in Syria'

Moscow's embassy in Tel Aviv lashes out at Israel for its "irresponsible and unfriendly actions", which led to the deaths of 15 Russian servicemen aboard an ill-fate aircraft in Syria, as Israel's air force commander visits Russia to give explanations on the tragic incident.

Meanwhile, Cypriot media reported that the Russian army closed off part of Cyprus' airspace, land and sea until next Wednesday, which Israeli officials have confirmed. The plane is reportedly a Boeing 747 of the airline Fars Air Qeshem, linked to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, which had been converted into a cargo plane.

Israel has carried out some 200 airstrikes over the last 18 months, claiming that the attacks aimed to prevent Iranian weapons convoys and stop Iran from establishing a military foothold in Syria. "And these will be steps that everyone will notice", Putin said.

Mr Lieberman also said that Israel would fully co-operate with a Russian investigation into the downing of its plane, adding: "We have nothing to hide".

Although Russian President Vladimir Putin acknowledged on Tuesday that there had been "a chain of tragic, accidental circumstances", he did complain to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that "Russian-Israeli agreements on preventing unsafe incidents had not been observed".

"The Israeli planes deliberately created a unsafe situation for surface ships and aircraft in the area", a defense ministry spokesman said.

A Russian defense ministry report says the Ilyushin-20 aircraft was downed by a Syrian antiaircraft system, because the Israeli F-16 pilots were using the Russian plane as a shield and drew an S-200 missile to it, TASS reported Wednesday.

The Israelis expressed their sorrow for the loss of the Russian servicemen but placed the blame squarely on the Syrians.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has blamed Israel for the incident, which was the worst case of friendly fire between Moscow and his regime since Russian forces intervened in the war-torn country in late 2015.

Israel has mainly struck Iranian targets in Syria and weapon convoys en route to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

In a Wednesday analysis piece in Hebrew-language daily Yedioth Ahronoth, Israeli military analyst Ron Ben Yishai said that Israel would - in response to the incident - try to persuade Russian Federation not to give Syria its advanced S-300 air-defense system.

In general, regarding Iran's presence in Syria, the United States says Iran has to go. "Israel will share all the relevant information with the Russian Government to review the incident and to confirm the facts in this inquiry", the IDF said.

"The Israeli ambassador has been summoned to the foreign ministry over the situation", a ministry representative told AFP.

Israel and Russian Federation have been using a deconfliction mechanism in Syria to avoid any unwanted conflict between them.

But with an inaccurate system responsible for downing one of their military planes, the idea might be brought up again with Damascus.

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