Israel accused after Russian spy plane lost over Syria

The Il-20 aircraft was shot down by a missile system last week

The Il-20 aircraft was shot down by a missile system last weekALEXANDER KOPITAR AFP GETTY IMAGES

The paper quoted security officials as saying that Moscow recently conveyed a message to Tel Aviv that attacking Syrian targets is against its goal to strengthen Syrian President Bashar Assad's legitimate government and harms his attempts to end the fighting in the country.

Russia's defence ministry has formally blamed Israel for violating an agreement aimed at preventing clashes between the two nations over the skies of Syria that led to the downing of a Russian reconnaissance aircraft.

On Sunday, military spokesman Igor Konashenkov presented the results of an investigation.

"Monitoring the Il-20, the Israeli fighters used it as cover from the anti-aircraft missiles" and continued to patrol the area long after the Russian plane was shot down, he said.

Russian Federation also accused Israel of using a hotline set up between the two sides to avoid airborne collisions to mislead Russian Federation about its plans.

Konashenkov said the Russian military received a call from Israeli command at 1839 GMT on the day of the incident to warn that Israel would be striking "north of Syria", where the Il-20 surveillance aircraft was monitoring the Idlib de-escalation zone.

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"The misleading (information) by the Israeli officer regarding the location of the strikes made it impossible to guide the Il-20 to a safe location", said Konashenkov. The ministry said four Israeli F-16 fighter jets had carried out on targets in the Syrian province of Latakia.

A photo taken on July 23, 2006 shows an Russian Il-20M plane landing at an unknown location.

Israel has claimed the plane was downed while Israeli jets had returned to Israeli territory, posted on Twitter: "When the Syrian Army launched the missiles that hit the Russian plane, IAF jets were already within Israeli airspace".

The Russian jet was flying over the Mediterranean Sea back to Russia's Hmeimim air base in Syria when contact was lost.

Since the countries reached a cooperation agreement, Russian Federation has sent as many as 310 notifications to the Israeli military while Israel only notified Russian Federation 25 times.

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