An Israeli Air Force F-35 fighter jet flies during an aerial demonstration at a graduation ceremony for Israeli airforce pilots at the Hatzerim air base in southern Israel December 29, 2016..
(photo credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)
BEIRUT - The military alliance fighting in support of Syrian President Bashar Assad said on Saturday Israel will witness a "severe and serious" response to its "terrorism" from now on.
In a statement, the alliance said Israeli claims that a drone entered Israeli airspace were a "lie."
The statement said Israel attacked a drone base in central Syria. The alliance added that drones had left the T4 air base in the morning to conduct routine operations against Islamic State in the Syrian desert.
"When the base was targeted our aircraft were still flying over the town of Sokhna, towards the desert," the statement said. Sokhna is a town northeast of the city of Palmyra in central Syria.
The deputy head of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards Corps, meanwhile, declined to comment on reports that Israel had intercepted an Iranian drone launched from Syria on Saturday, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported.
Brigadier General Hossein Salami "did not comment on the reports about the Iranian drone when asked by journalists, but he said that Iran could destroy all American military bases in the region and create a hell for the Zionist regime (Israel)," according to Tasnim.
"We cannot confirm this report on the drone because Israelis are liars... if Syrians confirm it, Iran will confirm it as well," Salami said.
The Israeli military said the F-16 jet crashed during a mission to strike Iranian drone installations in Syria, where Iranian and Iran-backed forces have established a major foothold while fighting in support of President Bashar Assad.
Israel said it had sent its jets into Syria after shooting down an Iranian drone flying over Israeli territory earlier on Saturday. Israel said its warplanes came under fire in Syria, though it was still unclear why the jet had come down.
"Twelve targets, including three aerial defense batteries and four Iranian targets that are part of Iran's military establishment in Syria were attacked," the Israeli military said in a statement.
"During the attack, anti-aircraft missiles were fired towards Israel, triggering alarms that were heard in Northern Israel," the military said.
Israel said it was not seeking to escalate the situation, but was prepared to extract a heavy price in necessary.
“Iran and Syria are playing with fire,” The IDF Spokesman said.“The IDF acts with determination against the attempt of the Iranian-Syrian attack and the violation of Israeli sovereignty. The IDF is prepared for a variety of scenarios and will continue to act as necessary.”