Nasrallah: Shooting down Israeli jet 'a very big military achievement'

Netanyahu on Friday expressed Israel's readiness to continue striking Iranian targets in Syria should it prove necessary.

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February 16, 2018 20:15
2 minute read.
Nasrallah: Shooting down Israeli jet 'a very big military achievement'

Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah is seen on a video screen as he addresses his supporters in Beirut, Lebanon February 16, 2018.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah praised Friday the shooting down of an Israeli fighter jet last Saturday by Syrian anti-aircraft fire, describing it as "a very big military achievement."

The leader of the Iran-backed Lebanese terrorist organization made the comments during a televised address to a Beirut rally commemmorating the death of senior Hezbollah commanders.

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Nasrallah emphasized that the decision to shoot down the plane was a purely Syrian decision, taken by Syrian president Bashar Assad and other high-ranking Syrian officials, without Iranian influence.

The F-16 fighter jet was shot down after Israeli aircraft targeted a series of Iranian and Syrian military targets located in Syria. The strikes came in response to an Iranian drone flown from Syria into Israeli territory earlier in the day. The drone was intercepted by an Israeli Air Force Apache helicopter.

The F-16's two Israeli airmen ejected from the aircraft, parachuting to safety inside Israel.

Netanyahu on Friday expressed Israel's readiness to continue striking Iranian targets in Syria should it prove necessary.

“Iran should not build its military bases there —  we’ll act against it,” Netanyahu said during a meeting with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference.

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Bystanders look on at the remnants of an Israeli F-16 fighter jet shot down by Syrian forces, February 2018 (RONEN ZVULUN/ REUTERS)

Nasrallah also addressed rising border tensions between Israel and Lebanon amid furious Lebanese reactions to a new border wall being built by Israel and a dispute over maritime borders between the countries.

Israel has stated that the new border wall is to be constructed entirely on its side of the UN-recognised ceasefire line. Lebanese officials have argued, however, that the wall represents an intrusion into Lebanese territory.

The IDF told The Jerusalem Post last month that work on the border fence was continuing as normal.

Lebanon has also stated its intention to explore for offshore energy near the disputed maritime border. Assistant US Secretary of State David Satterfield has been mediating between the two countries regarding both the border wall and maritime issues.

Nasrallah stated that the US must ensure compliance with Lebanese demands regarding the disputes in order to "hold Hezbollah back from Israel."

"In the oil and gas battle, the only power [the Lebanese] have is the resistance," the Hezbollah leader said regarding the maritime dispute.

Reuters contributed to this story.

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