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Netanyahu speaks to Russia's Putin about Iran

11 February 2018

The U.S. was "deeply" concerned about Saturday's escalation of violence over Israel's border and "strongly" supported Israel's sovereign right to defend itself, the State Department said.

An Israeli Apache helicopter was able to intercept the drone, after detecting it "early on" and placing it under surveillance, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

General Salami denied that an Iranian drone shot down by the Israelis was violating Israel's airspace - saying the drone was gathering intelligence on Islamic State.

Israel then launched a second and more intensive air raid, hitting what it said were 12 Iranian and Syrian targets in Syria, including Syrian air defense systems.

The latest Israeli airstrikes on military facilities in Syria is one more attempt of hostile forces to prevent a political solution for the conflict-torn country, Qadri Jamil, the leader of the Moscow platform of the Syrian opposition, said in a statement on Saturday.

'The US continues to push back on the totality of Iran's malign activities in the region and calls for an end to Iranian behaviour that threatens peace and stability'.

The Israeli air force launched a further series of strikes targeting what it said were Iranian and Syrian military targets in Syria. This incident proves every one of those warnings correct. As that page has turned, Israeli pilots would be wise to keep one finger on the eject button at all times if they venture into foreign skies ever again.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor, said Israel had targeted several bases in the east of the central province of Homs.

A United Nations spokesperson said Saturday that Secretary-General Antonio Guterres "is following closely the alarming military escalation throughout Syria and the risky spillover across its borders".

Syrian Army officials said the drone had been carrying out a routine mission against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, over Syrian airspace, according to the news site Al-Manar.

Iran dismissed Israel's claims that Israeli forces downed one of its drones and that Iran was involved in an attack.

"Israel holds Iran and its Syrian hosts responsible for today's aggression", Netanyahu said. The military says it hit four Iranian positions and eight Syrian sites, causing significant damage. Israeli time, as air raid sirens wailed over the communities of the Beit Shean Valley in the lower Galilee.

Netanyahu spoke with both Russian President Vladimir Putin and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson after Saturday's confrontation.

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. The Syrians are playing with fire when they allow the Iranians to attack Israel from their soil. "We agreed coordination between our armies would continue", Netanyahu said.

The Israeli military spokesman said Israel did not seek escalation in the region, calling its action a "defensive effort triggered by an Iranian act of aggression".

Hezbollah - an Iranian-installed terrorist group operating in Syria and oftentimes in Israel's West Bank and Gaza Strip amongst the Palestinians - celebrated Israel's downed F-16 fighter, insisting that the destroyed aircraft marks the ushering in of future destruction for Israel.

Netanyahu speaks to Russia's Putin about Iran