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Israeli military tells Russia Syrian air defense teams to blame for downing of Il-20

The Israeli delegation has arrived in Russia to hand data on the incident to the Russian side

TEL AVIV, September 21. /TASS/. An Israeli military delegation led by Air Force Chief Major General Amikam Norkin provided Russia with a report saying that Syria’s indiscriminate air defense fire was the cause of the downing of a Russian Ilyushin Il-20 aircraft, a senior Israeli army official said at a briefing for foreign reporters on Friday.

"Our presentation showed that Syrian air defense teams recklessly and irresponsibly fired missiles after our fighter jets had already left the area, downing the Russian aircraft," he said. "We provided the Russians with our data, they had some questions that we responded to, and we also stressed that it was not a provocation on Israel’s part," the official added.

Downing of Il-20 aircraft

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, on September 17, contact was lost with a Russian Il-20 aircraft flying over the Mediterranean Sea back to the Russian Hmeimim air base in Syria. The ministry said the aircraft had disappeared from radar during an airstrike four Israeli F-16 fighter jets carried out on targets in the Syrian province of Latakia. On September 18, the Russian Defense Ministry stated that the Il-20 aircraft had been accidently downed by Syrian air defenses as the Israeli F-16 jets had been using it as cover. According to Defense Ministry Spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov, Israeli pilots "could not but see the Russian plane, which was approaching the runway from an altitude of five kilometers." The ministry added that it considered such actions by Israel to be hostile.

The Israel Defense Forces said in a later statement that the country "will share all the relevant information with the Russian Government to review the incident and to confirm the facts in this inquiry."

Israeli Air Force Chief Major General Amikam Norkin held meetings with senior Russian military commanders on Thursday, presenting "the situation report regarding the downing of the Russian plane by Syrian anti-aircraft fire on Monday night, as well as the pre-mission information and the findings of the IDF's inquiry of the event," the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement.