The Israeli military said Saturday it shot down an Iranian drone that infiltrated the country and struck Iranian targets in that launched it.
Downing an Israeli fighter jet by Syrian fire marks one of the most serious escalations in the region, BBC's Middle East correspondent Tom Bateman said.
Meanwhile, Syrian media reported later on Saturday that explosions were heard near the capital Damascus, as the Syrian air defense responded to "new Israeli aggression".
"A few minutes ago, [Israeli aircraft]...targeted the Syrian Aerial Defense System and Iranian targets in Syria", a military statement said. "The Ministry calls on the countries concerned to curb the Israeli practices and stop its attacks". "This was a defensive effort triggered by an Iranian act of aggression and we are defending our airspace, our sovereignty and civilians", an Israeli military spokesman said on Saturday.
Israeli military said it was "monitoring events" and was "fully prepared for further action". In response, the IDF targeted Iranian targets in Syria.
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It marked the most serious confrontation yet in Syria between Israel and Iranian and Iran-backed forces that have established a major foothold in the country while fighting in support of President Bashar al-Assad in the civil war.
The military called the drone infiltration a "severe and irregular violation of Israeli sovereignty" and said Iran would be held responsible for its outcome, marking a dramatic escalation in tensions along its northern border. "Today's developments mean the old equations have categorically ended", the heavily-armed movement said in a statement. The drone was spotted by Israel and residents across the Golan Heights and the Jordan Valley were woken by air raid sirens which sounded when the UAV was intercepted near the Israeli town of Beit She'an by an Apache attack helicopter.
The Israeli air force has targeted Syrian military sites on an nearly regular basis, on allegations that they are affiliated to Iranian and Hezbollah militias.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the first round targeted in the central desert area where Syrian troops and their Iranian-backed allies including Hezbollah are known to maintain bases.
The F-16 crashed in northern after facing heavy anti-aircraft counter fire from. The military said that attack caused material damage.
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The Israeli military declined to comment.
Syrian State TV quoted a military official Saturday saying that Syrian air defenses hit more than one Israeli plane.
As the Israeli planes came under attack, two F-16 pilots made a decision to eject, and their plane crashed in Israel's Galilee region, Conricus said.
A second pilot was lightly injured while abandoning the aircraft.
Israeli F-16 fighter jets attacked Iranian sites inside Syria. The plane crashed into Israeli territory after being fired by the Syrian anti-aircraft defense during the operation, said Lieutenant-Colonel Conricus, recognizing that the fall of the aircraft was probably related to Syrian gunfire.
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