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Israeli F-16 shot down, pilots safe

February 10, 2018 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Israeli jets today were targeted by the Syrian Army with anti-aircraft missiles. An Israeli F-16I went down in northern Israel amid the fire, but the jet's pilots ejected safely.

IDFAF F-16D block 40 #642 from Tayeset 105 is getting airborne fast and furious on August 3rd, 2013. [Photo by Xnir]

An Iranian drone had been sighted taking off from a base in Syria Friday night, and was intercepted after it crossed into Israeli territory. Israeli planes, including at least eight jets, then struck an Iranian installation in Syria which the Israeli military said operated the unmanned aircraft.

One of those planes, an F-16I, crashed on its return from that mission, landing in an empty field near Harduf, east of Haifa, in northern Israel. Both pilots ejected over Israeli territory and were injured, one of them critically. The pilots were transferred to Rambam hospital by helicopter.

The Israeli military said that early assessments showed it was hit by Syrian anti-aircraft fire, but could not immediately confirm that.

Air raid sirens sounded in the early morning of the Jewish sabbath in northern Israel and flights at Tel Aviv’s international airport were briefly halted. The frontier fell quiet by mid-afternoon.

The incidents marked the most serious confrontations in Syria between Israel and Iranian-backed forces that have established a major foothold in the country while fighting in support of President Bashar al-Assad in a nearly seven-year-old civil war.

Israel now launched its most intensive air strikes yet against Iranian forces in Syria on Saturday after intercepting what it said was an Iranian drone and the rare downing of an Israeli F-16 warplane.

Additional images:

IDFAF F-16D block 52 #894 from Tayeset 107 is taking off in full blaze during the evening of October 22nd, 2010. [Photo by Xnir]

IDFAF F-16D block 52 #872 from Tayeset 201 has just retracted its gear after take off. [Photo by Shablul]

Picture of the Israeli F-16D block 52 (Suefa) who was shot down on February 10th, 2018. [ collection]