An Israeli attack helicopter takes out an Iranian drone as soon as it entered the airspace of Israel. The drone was based on an American stealth drone that was intercepted six years ago by Iran.

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Iranian drone based on the Lockheed Martin RQ-170 “Sentinel”

A spokesman for the Israeli Army, Lt. Col Jonathan Conricus said to CNN that the drone had been on a specific mission inside Israel. The drone had been tracked by the Israeli Army as it had left its base in Palmyra in Syria. It had entered Israeli airspace at 4:50am local time on Saturday. An Apache attack helicopter shot down the drone north of the Israeli town of Beit She’an.

According to the Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi, the claims of the shot down Iranian drone were “too ridiculous to be addressed.”

“The government and army of Syria as an independent country have a legitimate right to defend [the country’s] territorial integrity and counter any type of foreign aggression,” Qassemi said on Saturday as quoted by state channel PRESS TV.

The Iranian drone was based on the Lockheed Martin RQ-170 “Sentinel,”. Iran had intercepted such a drone in December 2011 when it was on a reconnaissance mission according to the U.S. Through reverse engineering Iran has been able to create a copy of the drone that was ready in May of 2014.

The drone that was shot down over Israel, was on a special mission according to Conricus and the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). No further details were provided and it is unknown if the drone was armed. This was the first time an Iranian drone entered Israeli airspace.

In retaliation, Israel sent six of its aircraft into Syria, targetting 12 sites that”are part of Iran’s military establishment in Syria.” One of the Israeli fighter jets was downed by an anti-aircraft missile, according to the IDF. Both the pilot and co-pilot were able to eject from the airplane and survived. One of them was seriously injured.

The incident is believed to be Israel’s most significant involvement in Syria since the war began seven years ago.

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