An Israeli air force F-15 fighter jet flies during an exhibition as part of the graduation ceremony of air force pilots at Hatzerim air base in southern Israel.
(photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)
A delegation of IAF officials, lead by Air Force Commander Maj.-Gen. Amikam Norkin, presented the complete Israeli inquiry into last week’s downing of a Russian Ilyushin-20 airplane in Syria, the IDF Spokesperson said Sunday evening.
The IDF rejected Russian claims that Israel is to blame for shooting down the Russian plane or that Israel Air Force pilots used the Russian aircraft as cover during their mission.
"The IAF did not hide behind any plane and Israeli fighter jets were in Israeli airspace when the Syrians attacked the Russian plane," the statement said.
Calling for the continuation of the current deconfliction mechanism between the IDF and the Russian military, which the statement described as ”a common interest when facing the different challenges in the region,” the IDF inquiry report also states that "providing irresponsible parties with advance weapon systems is a danger to the region."
Calling the incident "tragic and difficult” the document states that Israel "shares the grief of the Russian families and the Russian people."
"The safety and well being of Russian forces stationed in Syria is... a meaningful consideration when each strike is approved," the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said.
However, Russia had earlier rejected the IDF’s explanation of the circumstances of the incident, which led to the deaths of 15 Russian servicemen. "We believe that the blame for the tragedy of the Russian Ilyushin-20 lies entirely with the Israeli Air Force and those who made the decision to carry out such actions,” said Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov.
“Israel has stated that the Assad regime is responsible for firing on the plane with its Russian-made anti-aircraft battery during the Israeli airstrike last Monday night.
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