Israel downs Iranian drone and strikes Syria, F-16 crashes

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The Israeli military shot down an Iranian drone that infiltrated the country early today before launching a "large-scale attack" on at least a dozen Iranian and Syrian targets in Syria.
Israel called it a "severe and irregular violation of Israeli sovereignty" and warned of further action against the unprecedented Iranian aggression.
The military said its planes faced massive anti-aircraft fire from Syria that forced two pilots to abandon an F-16 jet that crashed in northern Israel. One pilot was seriously wounded and the other lightly.
Syrian officials reported large explosions in the center of the country and the Syrian counter fire set off warning sirens throughout northern Israel.
"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," Israel’s chief military spokesman, Brig Gen Ronen Manelis, said in a special statement.
"Whoever is responsible for this incident is the one who will pay the price."
Gen Hossein Salami, acting commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, did not acknowledge Israel’s claim it shot down the drone. "We do not confirm any such news from Israel," he said.
Syria’s Defense Ministry said in statements on its website that its air defenses responded successfully to the Israeli operation and hit more than one plane.
"The Israeli enemy has once again attacked some of our military bases in the southern area and our air defenses responded and foiled the aggression," it said.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman were convening the top brass at military headquarters in Tel Aviv to discuss further response.
In response, Conricus said Israeli jets destroyed the Iranian site in central Syria that launched it. Upon their return, the jets came under heavy Syrian anti-aircraft fire.
The pilots of one of the F-16s had to escape and the plane crashed. It’s unclear whether the plane was actually struck or if the pilots abandoned their mission for a different reason.
If the plane was in fact shot down by enemy fire, it could mark the first such instance for Israel since 1982 during the first Lebanon war. 

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