February 10 Israeli airstrikes took out nearly half of the Syrian air defenses, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on February 14 citing “Senior Israel Defense Forces officials”.
“In Saturday’s exchange of fire Syria scored a rare success, downing an Israeli F-16 fighter jet with an antiaircraft missile, apparently taking advantage of a vulnerability in the way the crew flew the jet. Israel however destroyed nearly half of President Bashar Assad’s air defenses, according to military estimates.
Senior Israel Defense Forces officials told Haaretz that the wide-ranging aerial operation over the weekend is considered a success and the army is aware of the risks involved in such an operation, which at times can also result in planes being hit. The strikes by Israel took out the batteries that fired missiles at its fighter jets and also hit four Iranian targets, including the drone control center and communications systems.
Syria was able to down the Israeli plane because it was flying too high. That, at least, is the initial assessment based on an Israel Air Force investigation of the incident,” Haaretz’s article reads.
So, according to the Israeli side, the February 10 encounter was a “success” for Tel Aviv even despite the fact that the F-16I had been shot down.
On February 14, the Russian media reported citing Syrian and Russian military sources that the Syrian Air Defense had shot down 13 of 18 air-launched cruise missiles launched by the Israeli Air Force on February 10. So, the different sides have quite different versions of the same incident.
Meanwhile, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said at the annual conference organized by the Federation of Local Authorities and Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael that Iran had declared war on Israel.
“Iran declared war on us. The highest echelons in Tehran want to erase the Zionist entity; they do not hide the fact that they want to wipe the State of Israel off the face of the earth,” the minister said. “Iran is also fighting us through its proxies – Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and now Hamas, and of course the Syrian regime. Therefore, it is a daily war not only in the military aspect but also in the realm of international terrorism, and we do everything in order to preserve Israel’s security.”
Liberman continued adding that Tel Aviv maintains absolute freedom of action and “everything we need to do has been done”. Before the February 10 encounter, the Israeli military said that an Iranian UAV had violated Israeli airspace. MORE DETAILS