Russia blames Israel for loss of aircraft to Syrian fire
MOSCOW – Russia blamed Israel on Tuesday for the loss of a military jet to Syrian fire, which killed all 15 servicemen on board, and threatened a response.
Israeli pilots carrying out attacks on Syrian targets “used the Russian plane as a cover, exposing it to fire from Syrian air defenses,” Russian military spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in televised remarks.
An Israeli air force’s F-16 launched an attack on targets near Syria’s Latakia on Monday around 10 p.m. (1900 GMT) when a Russian Il-20 was landing, he said.
“The Il-20, which has a much bigger reflective surface than the F-16, was struck down by an S-200 rocket,” he said. “As a result of irresponsible actions of Israeli military, 15 Russian servicemen have died.”
“We consider these provocative actions by Israel as hostile,” he said, adding that “we reserve our right for a proper response.”
Konashenkov said Israel notified Russian command about its plan to bomb targets in Syria’s Latakia province only one minute in advance which “did not allow for the Russian plane to be moved to a safe zone.”
A search and rescue operation for the remains of the Russian plane was ongoing. /kga