Israeli air force chief to give Moscow findings on Russian plane downing

JERUSALEM: Israel’s air force commander will lead a delegation to Moscow to share the military’s findings on the Syrian downing of a Russian warplane following Israeli air strikes, the army said Wednesday.
The delegation, led by Major General Amikam Norkin, would on Thursday “present the situation report… regarding all aspects” of the incident, the army said in a statement.
“In addition, they will present the continuous Iranian attempts to transfer strategic weapons to the Hezbollah terror organisation and to establish an Iranian military presence in Syria.”
On Monday, Syrian air defences shot down a Russian military plane, killing 15 soldiers, after Israeli missiles had struck the coastal region of Latakia.
The Russian military accused Israeli pilots of using “the Russian plane as a cover, exposing it to fire from Syrian air defences”.
Israel denied the allegations, saying its jets were already back in Israeli airspace when Syrian forces launched the missiles that hit the Russian plane.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his “sorrow” to Russian President Vladimir Putin in a phone call on Tuesday, offering to assist Moscow in the investigation.
Putin had said the incident was the result of “tragic accidental circumstances,” warning Netanyahu against carrying out such operations in the future and pledging to beef up security for Russian forces in Syria.
Accompanying Norkin on the Thursday visit will be officers from the intelligence and operations directorates, the army said in its Wednesday statement.

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