Israel seeks peace but will defend itself against Iran: Netanyahu

Israeli security forces examine the remains of an F-16 Israeli war plane near the Israeli village of Harduf Israel

Israeli security forces examine the remains of an F-16 Israeli war plane near the Israeli village of Harduf Israel

Both pilots were able to eject and landed in Israeli territory.

Israel decisive military response would compel the Tehran regime to think again before escalating any conflict, a leading Israeli military analyst observed.

The pro-Syrian military alliance, which includes Hezbollah and Iran, released a statement describing the Israeli claim that an Iranian drone had entered its airspace as a "lie and fabrication".

According to a separate military statement, "multiple anti-aircraft missiles were fired at IAF [Israel Air Force] aircraft".

"The risk is a direct confrontation between Israel and Iran that will encompass Syria and Lebanon", Nader said.

Israel seized 1,200 square kilometres (460 square miles) of the Golan Heights from Syria in the six-day war of 1967 and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the worldwide community.

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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.

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.

In subsequent attacks, Israel struck four additional Iranian positions and eight Syrian sites in Syria.

Israel has largely confined its operations to targeting Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shia militant group that is a key ally of Iran.

The current violence is the first direct engagement between Iran and Israel, said Sami Nader, head of the Beirut-based Levant Institute for Strategic Affairs.

The regime said it intercepted the missiles and destroyed majority, according to SANA.

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An hour later, Israeli jets were dispatched and sent to attack the base in Syria where the drone came from. He said: This will be seen as Iranian aggression.

In a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin last month, Netanyahu reportedly sought to assure Israel's freedom of action as it attempts to thwart the transfer of weapons to Lebanon-based Hezbollah through Syrian territory.

In a tweet, the Israeli Defense Forces said they would "act determinately against such severe violations of Israeli sovereignty" and was "ready for various scenarios".

Manelis added, "Whoever is responsible for this incident is the one who will pay the price".

Separately, The Jerusalem Post cited Israel's Channel 2 as reporting that the Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv had temporarily halted air traffic.

Israel has said it will not accept a permanent military presence by Iran and its Shiite allies in Syria, especially near the Israeli border.

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