The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said that it is not responsible for the destruction of the Russian Il-20 reconnaissance plane and did not use the plane as cover during its attack on Syria, Interfax reports.
“Israel’s fighters did not hide behind the Russian plane, and were in Israeli air space when the plane crashed,” the IDF’s official statement reads.
The situation surrounding the downing of the Il-20 over Syria will not change Israel’s plans to make air raids against the pro-Iranian Hezbollah militants, even if Russia closes the sky there, said Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman.
“We have been acting and will continue to act in accordance with our objectives. For Israel, nothing has changed or is going to change,” the minister said on Radio Kan.
Lieberman emphasized that the Hebrew state will not allow Syria to become a bridgehead for Iran.
Israel reacted in this manner after the Russian Defense Ministry once again blamed Israel for the downing of the Il-20. The Russian military department claims that Israel’s airstrikes did not target northern Syria, as the Israeli Air Force reported, but instead were directed against Latakia, its western province. According to its information, Israel only vacated the area of the calamity 50 minutes after the Il-20 was destroyed by Syria’s anti-air defense systems.
In response to this, Lieberman said that he will not enter a dispute with Moscow through the mass media. “The whole incident is under control. The picture is clear, and I think that soon we will return to normal interaction,” he remarked.
After the incident, which took place during the early hours of September 18, Israel dispatched General Amikam Norkin, commander of its Air Force, to Moscow to discuss the incident.