Israeli delegation in Moscow to share data on plane downing


A Syrian air defence missile downed the Russian Ilyushin Il-20 military plane on September 17, killing all 15 soldiers aboard and threatening to damage relations between Russia and Israel, which three years ago set up a hotline to avoid accidental clashes in Syria.

Russian Federation is set to publish a report detailing the circumstances that led to the recent accidental downing of an Il-20 reconnaissance aircraft by Syrian air defenses while they were responding to a wave of Israeli airstrikes.

The army statement described the meeting with the Russians as to have taken place "in a favourable atmosphere during which an open dialogue on various issues took place".

Russia's Defense Ministry held Israel responsible for the incident, saying the regime's warplanes "created a risky situation" that led to the downing of the Russian aircraft by Syria's S-200 missile defense system.

On the night of September 17, a Russian Il-20 reconnaissance plane carrying 15 crew members was shot down just after Israel attacked a weapons depot outside Latikia believed to be connected to Iranian-backed terror.

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On Sunday, military spokesman Igor Konashenkov presented the results of an investigation.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday Israel will defend itself against Iran, after a friendly fire incident in Syria this week linked to Israeli strikes on Iranian targets there. The plane was on a reconnaissance mission over the Idlib de-escalation zone on Monday when it was shot down by Syrian air defense units responding to an Israeli air raid. But President Vladimir Putin later called it "a chain of tragic, chance events". "They fired quite recklessly and irresponsibly and unprofessionally into the air long after our planes were no longer there".

The Israeli pilots' actions "either speak of their unprofessionalism or criminal negligence at the very least", Konashenkov said, reiterating the Israeli airforce was fully responsible for the downing of the plane.

The Israeli military also noted that its delegation "presented the ongoing Iranian attempts to establish its military presence in Syria and to transfer strategic weapons to the Hezbollah terror organization". He described Israel's actions as "a highly ungrateful response to everything that Russian Federation has done for the State of Israel recently".

Earlier this month, it acknowledged having carried out more than 200 strikes in Syria over the past 18 months, mainly against Iranian targets.