The Israeli military has shot down an Iranian drone that infiltrated the country before launching a “large-scale attack” on at least a dozen Iranian and Syrian targets in Syria.
Israel has called it a “severe and irregular violation of Israeli sovereignty” and warned of further action against the unprecedented Iranian aggression.
The military says its planes faced massive anti-aircraft fire from Syria that forced two pilots to abandon an F-16 jet that crashed in northern Israel.
Syrian officials reported large explosions in the centre of the country and the Syrian counter fire set off warning sirens throughout northern Israel.
The Israeli strikes mark its most significant engagement since the fighting in neighbouring Syria began in 2011 and said Iran would be held responsible for its outcome.
“This is a serious Iranian attack on Israeli territory. Iran is dragging the region into an adventure in which it doesn’t know how it will end,” Israel’s chief military spokesman, Brig Gen Ronen Manelis, said in a statement.
“Whoever is responsible for this incident is the one who will pay the price.”
Syria’s Defense Ministry said in statements on its website that its air defenses responded successfully to the Israeli operation and hit more than one plane.
“The Israeli enemy has once again attacked some of our military bases in the southern area and our air defences responded and foiled the aggression,” it said.