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Pilot Error Determined As Cause Of Israeli F-16 Crash
A picture taken in the northern Israeli Kibbutz of Harduf on February 10, 2018, shows the remains of an Israel F-16 that crashed after coming under fire by Syrian air defenses during attacks against 'Iranian targets. (Photo: Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images)

Pilot Error Determined As Cause Of Israeli F-16 Crash

The downing of an Israeli F-16 on February 10 was caused by human error, according to an investigation by the Israel Defense Forces. The military determined that the pilots of the plane erred by continuing to pursue their mission targets rather than immediately employing evasive measures after coming under Syrian anti-aircraft missile fire. “There was an operational mistake on the part of the team whose actions did not match the order of priorities required by the threat it was facing,” a senior Israel Air Force officer explained. The jet was one of eight that took part in retaliatory strikes in Syria following the penetration of Israeli airspace by an Iranian drone. Despite the loss of the fighter—the first such instance for Israel since 1982—the IDF successfully destroyed a dozen Syrian and Iranian assets, reportedly wiping out up to fifty percent of Syria’s air defense systems. The engagement was the first direct military confrontation between Israel and Iran, which seeks to establish a permanent military foothold in Syria. To this end, the Islamic Republic has invested billions of dollars in support of the Assad regime, is constructing its own weapons manufacturing facilities in Syria and has some 80,000 troops under its direction in the country. While the downing of the Israeli jet constituted a major propaganda coup for Tehran and its Lebanese Shiite proxy Hizbullah, both of which painted the event as proof of Israel’s vulnerability, the message sent by the IDF’s response to the drone’s infiltration appears to have been received, as tensions have since been reduced—for now—along the northern front.

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