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Netanyahu speaks to Russia's Putin about Iran

11 February 2018

"Iran only provides military advice to Syria based on the request of the country's legitimate government", Qasemi said.

"I've been warning for some time about the dangers of Iran's military entrenchment in Syria", Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in remarks on Saturday.

Separately, Iran issued a joint statement alongside the other main allies of the Syrian regime - Russian Federation and Lebanese militant group Hezbollah - denying the allegations regarding the drone.

Defense and government analyst Amir Orden predicted that while Tehran too will engage in some tough posturing, what both sides really want is dialogue.

Last year, Israel pushed back against a partial ceasefire brokered by the U.S. and Russian Federation, arguing it allowed Iranian expansion near Israel's borders.

Israel soon sent fighter jets into Syria to attack the T4 military base near the Syrian city of Palmyra, from which the drone supposedly was launched. Israel has said it will not accept a permanent military presence by Iran and its Shiite allies in Syria, especially near the Israeli border.

Israel's President Reuven Rivlin praised the nation's security forces and spoke to the injured pilot.

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According to the Israeli military, the confrontation began with the drone entering its airspace before being intercepted by a combat helicopter.

The IDF has released footage showing the Iranian drone infiltrating Israeli airspace and the IDF's response. In retrospect, the Israeli military would have wished to keep the Saturday strike incognito, too.

Help report on Iranian-Israeli tensions by contributing through EDIT STORY. Israeli planes hit Syrian targets in response to the invasion of Israeli airspace by the drone, and were met by a barrage of missiles fired from Syrian military bases, and an Israeli F-16 plane was hit by one of the missiles. It says sirens sounded in northern Israel as a result of the anti-aircraft fire from Syria.

With one or two exceptions, Israel had generally managed to avoid direct clashes with Iran and the loss of aircraft through a deft and complex strategy, involving three planks.

It said the bases are used by both Iranian and Russian military personnel deployed in support of the regime.

Israeli media picked up that motif soon after the attack, with one Israeli columnist calling the downing of the jet "a blow to the national pride of a country that holds its air force as invincible". This morning Iran brazenly violated Israel's sovereignty.

The statement from Iran, Russia and Hezbollah dismissed Israel's drone allegations as "lies".

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In a statement Saturday, the Shi'ite terrorist group praised the "alertness of the Syrian army, which downed the plane", saying this marks the "end the abandonment of the Syrian sovereignty in the air and on land".

He also vowed that his country would respond strongly to "all further aggression" from Israel.

Israel has looked on with alarm as its arch-enemy Iran has extended its reach in the region during conflicts in Iraq and Syria.

"We have made it unequivocally clear", he said, Israel "will strike back at every attempt to strike at us", he said.

The military says it is "ready for various scenarios and will continue to act according to situation assessments".

Israel is technically at war with Syria and occupies a swathe of the strategic Golan Heights that it seized in the Six-Day War of 1967 and later annexed in a move never recognised by the global community.

"They, and we, know what we hit and it will take them some time for them to digest, understand and ask how Israel knew how to hit those sites", Israel's Intelligence Minister Israel Katz told the Army Radio station.

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If Israel became more militarily involved in the conflict, what would it mean for the Syrian war - and the wider region?

Netanyahu speaks to Russia's Putin about Iran