14 Russian servicemen aboard plane which went missing over Mediterranean; Syria claims 2 killed after Israel fires missiles from Lebanese airspace toward chemical weapons-linked facility in Latakia
The Middle East was rocked tonight as a Russian military jet with 14 soldiers onboard was shot down as Israel launched airstrikes from Lebanese airspace on a chemical weapons depot in the Syrian city of Latakia. Israel is saying the Russian jet was shot down accidentally by Syrian forces, while others are saying that it was American Tomahawk missiles that were behind the strike.
Russia is demanding answers, Israel is refusing to comment, and America says the Russian jet was shot down by Syria. There will be very little sleep in the Middle East tonight.
FROM TIMES OF ISRAEL: A Russian military plane with 14 servicemen aboard was accidentally shot down by Syrian air defenses as they tried to repel an alleged Israeli strike on Monday, a US official told CNN. The official added that the plane was downed by a Russian-made missile system which was sold to Syria.
Russian state news TASS said the IL-20 disappeared over the Mediterranean on Monday evening at the same time as the suspected strike. A Syrian facility linked to the country’s chemical weapons program was bombed on Monday night, triggering Syrian air defenses, state media reported.
The state-run Al-Ikhbariya TV reported loud explosions in the coastal Latakia province, saying they were likely from Israeli strikes targeting a state company for technical industries.
The Syrian army said that Israel fired missiles from Lebanese airspace, adding that two people were killed in the attack and the facility was severely damaged, Hadashot reported early Tuesday. A spokesperson for the US Department of Defense denied that the American military was behind the attack, telling the Voice of America news outlet, “I can unequivocally say this is not us.” READ MORE
FROM THE UK SUN: A report given to Sputnik said: “On September 17, at about 11 p.m. Moscow time [20:00 GMT], the communication with the crew of the Russian Il-20 aircraft was lost when it was over the Mediterranean Sea, some 35 kilometres from the Syrian coast, on its way back to Hmeimim airbase.”
Sky over Latakia earlier tonight. pic.twitter.com/PbOVmUKrXl
— Aldin 🇧🇦 (@aldin_ww) September 17, 2018
US officials have reported the Syrian army shot down the Russian plane while trying to thwart an alleged Israeli airstrike. Syrian state media said air defences intercepted and downed missiles targeting areas in the city of Latakia. Military sources reported missiles came from the direction of the sea in an hour-long attack. READ MORE