Pilot who shot down Iranian drone: Sent to protect the country's skies

"The squadron is ready and prepared for any task it is given," said Lt. Col. L., commander of the 113 squadron.

By TAL LEV RAM/MAARIV
February 11, 2018 08:45
2 minute read.

Israel intercepts an Iranian drone over its airspace and destroys the caravan unit that operated it (IDF Sokesperson's Office)

Israel intercepts an Iranian drone over its airspace and destroys the caravan unit that operated it (IDF Sokesperson's Office)

Israel's attack Saturday morning was the most extensive attack made against Syria's air force since the 1982 Lebanon war, said Brigadier General Tomer Bar, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) chief of staff. Among other things, the command and control unit of the Iranian drone that infiltrated Israeli territory was destroyed.

The Iranian drone flew through Jordanian territory, stopped for about a minute and a half in the northern Jordan Valley above Israeli territory, and was then shot down by a helicopter flown by Lt. Col. L., commander of the 113 squadron.

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"The squadron was sent to protect the country's skies," L. said. "We identified the aircraft as an Iranian drone, and when it crossed the border, we shot it down into Israeli territory. The squadron is ready and prepared for any task it is given." The UAV that was shot down is considered to be very technologically advanced, and may be based on a model of the American stealth drone that was shot down in Iranian territory several years ago.

Similar reports came from the other side. "Israeli fighter planes shelled the UAV base at T4 airport in the suburbs of Homs in the center of Syria," read a statement from the Operations Room of Syria’s Allies. "The occupation entity’s claims that the drone has entered the airspace of occupied Palestinian territories are sheer lies."

The report claims when the base was shelled, the drone was on a routine patrol above the Syrian desert. "Drones play an important role in gathering information about ISIS and other terrorist organizations, and they helped clear the eastern region of the organization's members," the statement said. "Israeli aggression will be met in response from now on. Every new aggression will be met with a serious response."

A Syrian military source said that the Syrian air defense system responded to two Israeli attacks, one on Saturday morning, targeting a military base in the Homs area, during which "more than one Israeli plane" was hit. Syrian television later announced that new explosions had been heard in the suburbs of Damascus, and that the Syrian air defense system had reacted to a second attack. "The new attacks were directed at outposts in the southern region and we succeeded in thwarting them," added a Syrian military source.

The Lebanese television station Al Mayadeen reported that Syrian air defense systems attacked the Israeli F-16 jet. A correspondent for the station - affiliated with the Syrian regime - reported that "the Israeli fighter planes did not dare enter Syrian airspace after the plane was downed, and the missiles, which Israel used to attack the Syrian air defense system, were launched from the heart of the Mediterranean Sea."

The station also claimed that more than 70% of the missiles launched by Israel into Syria recently were shot down by Syria’s air defense system. It should be noted that one of the SA-5 missiles fired at the Israeli planes landed in an agricultural area in Wadi Hatzbani in southern Lebanon. According to assessments made by the Lebanese security forces, the missile was aimed at one of the Israeli planes that attacked Syria. A senior military source in Syria told the Russian news agency Sputnik that the Syrian defense system had shot down six Israeli missiles launched at Syrian military posts.


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