Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman speaks at a faction meeting on June 18th, 2018.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
"Assad's army is to blame" for the Russian plane that was shot down after an Israeli air strike on an Iranian military facility in Syria, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said in an interview on Army Radio on Thursday.
Israel's defense forces "will do everything they must" to defend the country and its citizens. "I will continue to do what I must," he added.
The lack of professionalism of the Syrian military, Liberman said, "led to the Russian planes being shot down."
"They opened fire in an unorganized manner," he said.
Liberman made a point to reassure listeners that the air strike was an act of national self-defense and does not relate to the internal affairs of Syria. "We do not get involved," he said, "but we cannot accept the fact that Syria is a forward operating base for Iran
"We will do anything to stop the consolidation of Iran's presence in Syria and the transferring of weapons from Syria to Hezbollah," he said.
Liberman also addressed Syria closing its airspace following the incident, reportedly due to a "military exercise." "This is not the first time... we will continue as normal," he said.
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