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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

Russia rejects Israeli findings on downed plane

Iran Press TV

Sat Sep 22, 2018 11:17AM

Russia has rejected the findings of an Israeli investigation into the deadly crash of a Russian military aircraft in the Syrian province of Latakia, and called on Tel Aviv to launch a new probe into the matter.

The Israeli Haaretz newspaper said on Friday that the Russians had not accepted Israel's findings, which considered Russia and Syria responsible for the downing of a Russian Ilyushin 20 reconnaissance aircraft some 35 kilometers off the coast of ‎Latakia as it was returning to a nearby Russian base earlier in the week. 15 Russian servicemen were killed in the incident.

Haaretz' report came after an Israeli delegation led by Amikam Norkin, the regime's air force commander, visited Moscow to brief Russian officials on Tel Aviv's initial investigation of the incident.

The paper said the visit failed to defuse the crisis and the Kremlin rejected the Israeli conclusion that Syrian forces were to blame for the incident.

During their meetings in Moscow, Norkin's delegation claimed that the Syrian military had fired more than 20 missiles – including the missile that hit the Russian plane – "in an unprofessional manner."

Speaking on condition of anonymity, an Israeli military official said the Israeli warplanes were "nowhere near the Russian plane when it was shot down," adding that the aircraft had been fired upon at a point when Israel's aircraft were already landing in Israel.

The delegation claimed that the Russians did have sufficient advance notice, but failed to divert the plane from harm's way after it had completed its surveillance mission.

Earlier, the Russian Embassy in Tel Aviv had censured Israel for its "irresponsible and unfriendly actions," and pinned the blame on Israel's Air Force, which was conducting aerial assaults against Syrian army positions when the incident happened.

"Moscow views as irresponsible and unfriendly actions of Israeli Air Force, which exposed Russian Il-20 aircraft to danger and led to the deaths of 15 servicemen," it said in a tweet, adding that Russia would "take all necessary measures to eliminate the threat to life and security of our military fighting against terrorism."

The Israel regime has over the past years carried out numerous strikes against the Syrian army positions in what is widely viewed as an attempt to help the terrorists survive in the face of successful Syrian army operations. It has defied criticisms of its unlawful military actions against Syrian soil.

The regime's minister for military affairs, Avigdor Lieberman, said Thursday that the regime would not stop such attacks, but would do more to "de-conflict" them with the Russian forces.

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