Russian jet vanishes from radar off Syria ‘during Israeli, French strikes’

Russia’s defense ministry said on Tuesday that one if its military aircraft with 14 people on board disappeared from radar screens over Syria at the same time that Israeli and French forces were mounting aerial attacks on targets in Syria.

A French military source, however, denied any French involvement in disappearance of the Russian plane.

“Connection has been lost with the crew of a Russian Il-20 plane over the Mediterranean Sea 35 kilometers from the Syrian coast as it was returning to the Hmeimim airbase,” the Russian defense ministry said early Tuesday.

The fate of the military personnel is “unknown,” the ministry said in a statement which was carried by Russian news agencies. A search for the plane was underway.

The ministry said that the jet had gone off the radar around 11pm Monday (2000 GMT) during an attack by four Israeli F-16 jets over Syrian infrastructure in the province of Latakia, a stronghold of President Bashar al-Assad.

RIA Novosti news agency, citing a security source, said that Syrian anti-defense systems had countered a rocket attack.

The plane was over the Mediterranean Sea about 35 km (20 miles) from the Syrian coastline, Russia’s TASS news agency quoted the ministry as saying in a statement.

“The trace of the Il-20 on flight control radars disappeared during an attack by four Israeli F-16 jets on Syrian facilities in Latakia province,” the statement was quoted as saying.

“At the same time Russian air control radar systems detected rocket launches from the French frigate Auvergne which was located in that region.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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