Press TV – Israel’s military has claimed that the pilot of an F-16 fighter jet shot down earlier this month by Syria was to blame for the crash, saying he had made a “professional error”.
A summary of an investigation released by the military on Sunday said the warplane was downed by Syrian military on February 10 while it was returning from a bombing raid in Syria.
Back then, the Israeli military said it had attacked positions inside the Syrian territory after it intercepted a drone launched from Syria on the same day.
The warplanes was the first to be lost by the Israeli military, which has long boasted of superior aerial power, in 35 years since the regime’s war on Lebanon in 1982.
Recounting the conclusions of the investigation, a top Israel Air Force officer said one of the aircraft participating in the airstrikes did not deploy countermeasures and was hit.
“In the operational theater, there were a number of planes that did indeed defend themselves against the Syrian launchings while completing their mission. One of the planes that did not defend itself, was hit,” he said.
The officer claimed that the crew had chosen “to complete the mission and not defend themselves sufficiently,” adding “their actions did not correlate with standard procedure while under enemy fire.”
According to the officer, the pilot suffered serious injuries during the ejection from the warplane and the navigator, who was also wounded, had returned to active duty.
The “heart of the event”, he said, was “the hiatus between their completing the mission successfully and taking defensive measures and ensuring survivability.”
Over the past few years, the Israeli military has launched sporadic attacks against various targets on Syrian soil, in assaults slammed by Syria as attempts to boost terrorist groups wreaking havoc on the country.
Blaming the downing of the jet on crew error appears to be an attempt to save face.
During Israel’s 2006 war on Lebanon, Tel Aviv claimed that a missile launched by Hezbollah managed to strike its warship because the radar system of the advanced vessel was turned off so as not to mistakenly hit Israeli warplanes operating in the area.
According to the 629-page Winograd Report by Israel itself, Hezbollah defeated the enemy and Tel Aviv was compelled to withdraw without having achieved any of its objectives. The war ended in a UN-brokered a ceasefire.