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An Israeli F-16 fighter jet crashed Saturday in northern Israel after coming under "massive anti-aircraft fire" from Syrian forces, according to the Israeli army.

The two pilots of the Israeli F-16 ejected before it crashed in northern Israel; both were reported as "safe" but.

After the plane came down, Israeli forces attacked 12 targets in Syria, including three aerial defense batteries and four targets described as Iranian, the IDF said.

"This is a severe attack and a breach of Israeli sovereignty perpetrated by Iran". The joint command of the Syrian regime's allied forces - including Iran and Lebanese Hezbollah - denied in a statement any violation of Israeli airspace.

"This is not the first time that we have warned you of Iran's unsafe actions that undermine the situation in our region", ambassador Danny Danon wrote in the letter.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran has advisory presence in Syria at the request of the country's legitimate and constitutional government", Qassemi said.

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"We urge all parties involved to exercise restraint and to avoid any actions that could lead to an even greater complication of the situation", Russia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Iran, along with Russian Federation - which had helped prop up the Assad government - denied that any of its drones had entered Israeli air space or that they had any role in shooting down the Israeli jet.

"This is a serious Iranian attack on Israeli territory".

The condition of the pilot, who was seriously injured after he was forced to evacuate the plane, stabilized Saturday morning, but he was still unconscious and connected to a respirator, doctors at Haifa's Rambam Medical Center said.

Iran denounced Israeli "lies" and said Syria had the right to self-defence in response to the strikes.

Israel then launched a second bombing raid in Syria.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed the situation in Syria in a telephone call, Interfax news agency cited the Kremlin as saying. Netanyahu added that Israel has "the right and the obligation" to defend itself.

The Israeli military said it did not seek escalation, calling its action a defensive response to an Iranian act of aggression.

Hizbollah said in a statement: "Today's developments mean the old equations have categorically ended". The confrontation was the most serious between arch foes Israel and Iran since the start of the civil war in Syria in 2011. On a visit to Israel last month, US Vice President Mike Pence called Iran the world's "leading state sponsor of terror". "We consider it necessary to unconditionally respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria and other countries of the region".

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Israel also sent a similar message to the US administration to mediate to defuse tension between Israel and Lebanon over Israel's building of a border fence between the two countries.

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