Russia blames Israel for the Loss of Il-20 Maritime Surveillance Plane
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Russia blames Israel for the Loss of Il-20 Maritime Surveillance Plane

By IndraStra Global News Team

Russia blames Israel for the loss of Il-20 maritime surveillance plane

Cover Image Attribute: A file photo of Russian Air Force Ilyushin Il-20, a similar aircraft is involved in the incident / Source: Kirill Naumenko/Wikipedia

On September 18, 2018, Russia's Ministry of Defence (MoD) accused Israel of a "hostile provocation" by conducting a raid on Syria (on late-night Monday) which triggered a chain of events that led to its Il-20 maritime surveillance plane being shot down by a Syrian S-200 surface-to-air missile near Syria's Mediterranean coast.

“The Israeli pilots used the Russian plane as cover and set it up to be targeted by the Syrian air defense forces. As a consequence, the Il-20, which has radar cross-section much larger than the F-16, was shot down by an S-200 system missile,” the statement said.

Map Attribute: Map of the incident on September 17 in Syria / Source: Russia's Ministry of Defence (MoD)

At the time of the incident, the plane was over the Mediterranean Sea about 35 km (20 miles) from the Syrian coastline with its crew of 14 and was returning to the Hmeimim airbase, Russia’s TASS news agency quoted the ministry as saying in a statement.

At the same time, Russian air control radar systems detected rocket launches from the French frigate Auvergne which was located in that region. However, the French denied any involvement in the plane's disappearance. "We deny any involvement," Colonel Patrik Steiger, a spokesman for France's military, told Reuters.

An hour-long raid on Latakia began around 10 pm local time and targeted a power station as well as two facilities belonging to the Syrian military. Syrian officials said the attack was “foreign” and came "from the sea," but could not initially confirm rumors that Israel was behind it. The official SANA news agency said the Technical Industry Institution in the state-controlled city had been targeted. SANA added that it was not immediately known who fired the missiles.

"Air defenses have confronted enemy missiles coming from the sea in the direction of the Latakia city, and intercepted a number of them," SANA quoted a military source as saying.


"Eight ships, including Russian Naval cutters and supply vessels, are participating in the operation to located the crew of the Russian Il-20 aircraft which crashed off the coast of Latakia," the ministry said.

A later update said debris from the downed plane was found some 27 km off the Latakia coast. The search party collected some body parts, personal possessions of the crew, and fragments of the plane.

According to the spokesman, the Russian Defense Ministry reserves the right to an "adequate response" following the Israeli attack.

An Israeli military spokeswoman, when asked about both the reported Israeli strike and the Russian plane, said: "We don’t comment on foreign reports"

With reporting by BBC, Hareetz, and Reuters