Russian Federation blames Israel after plane shot down in Syria

Assad Media Accuse Israel of Strikes Targeting ‘Syrian Army Infrastructure’ AFP

Meanwhile, President Bashar al-Assad on Wednesday blamed Israel for the downing of a Russian plane, which was accidentally hit by Syrian anti-aircraft fire during an Israeli missile strike.

However, the IDF made a rare immediate admission of responsibility on Tuesday, after the Russian Defense Ministry identified Israeli F-16 jets as taking part in the attack, and said the Il-20 aerial observation platform vanished from radars during the strike.

In a televised speech on Wednesday night, Hassan Nasrallah rejected Israel's assertion that it had attacked the military facility in Latakia to prevent the transfer on behalf of Iran to Hezbollah of systems to manufacture accurate weapons.

Russia said the Israeli aircraft "pushed" the Russian plane into the line of fire. Russian Federation has said Syria shot the plane down shortly after Israeli jets hit the area, and accused Israel of creating the unsafe conditions by failing to give sufficient advance notice.

The Russian Defense Ministry said a missile from Syria's S-200 air defense system shot down the Il-20 surveillance plane with Russian servicemen by mistake because an Israeli airstrike took place at the same time, blaming a simultaneous Israeli strike as the cause of the mistake.

Hezbollah fighters will continue to be deployed in Syria, he said, but perhaps in lesser numbers due to reduced fighting there after Syrian government forces regained control of most rebel-held areas.

NASA launches satellite to track Earth's melting ice
PDT or 1302 GMT) from Space Launch Complex-2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in Southern California. The launch was the last for the iconic rocket, introduced by the rocket builders in 1989.

"We are determined that such tragic events will sway neither you nor us from continuing the fight against terrorism", he continued in the letter published by the official Sana agency.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his "sorrow" to Russian President Vladimir Putin in a phone call on Tuesday, offering to assist Moscow in the investigation.

The incident, according to Agence France-Presse, "was the worst case of friendly fire between the two allies since Russia's game-changing military intervention in September 2015".

The leader of Lebanon's Hezbollah militia said Wednesday his group may reduce the number of its fighters in Syria because of an easing of the conflict, particularly after a recent Russian-Turkey agreement that prevented an offensive on the last rebel stronghold.

Israel has vowed to stop its arch-foe Iran, which backs the Assad regime, from entrenching itself militarily in neighbouring Syria.

Naftali Bennett, another member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's security cabinet, said "deconfliction mechanisms" would be improved, referring to a Russian-Israeli hotline created to avoid inadvertent clashes with forces Moscow sent to Syria as part of a military intervention mounted in 2015.

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