Sat | Sep 23, 2017

Russian plane breached airspace - Israel's defence minister

Published:Monday | November 30, 2015 | 11:00 AM

JERUSALEM (AP):

A Russian jet recently penetrated Israeli airspace but was not shot down thanks to an open communication system between the two countries, Israel's defence minister said Sunday as tensions continued to flare between Ankara and Moscow after Turkish troops downed a Russian warplane.

Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon said the plane entered about a mile (1.5 kilometres) into Israeli airspace by "mistake" and immediately turned around back to Syria when the Russians were notified. For two months, Russia has been carrying out air strikes to support Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Yaalon told Israel Radio that after Russia announced its air campaign in Syria, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, along with his military chief of staff and other officials, met with Russian President Vladimir Putin. He said Israel later opened a channel for coordination with Russia "to prevent misunderstandings."

 

CORRECTED MISTAKE

 

He said there has been one incident so far of a Russian plane entering Israeli airspace and it was "immediately corrected in the communications channel." He didn't say when it occurred.

"Russian planes don't intend to attack us and therefore there is no need to automatically, even if there is some kind of mistake, shoot them down," he said.

Yaalon's remarks come amid a crisis between Ankara and Moscow after Turkey downed a Russian warplane.

Putin issued a decree on Saturday calling for sanctions against Turkey. It includes a ban on some goods and forbids extensions of labour contracts for Turks working in Russia as of January 1. It doesn't specify what goods are to be banned or give other details, but it also calls for ending chartered flights from Russia to Turkey and for Russian tourism companies to stop selling vacation packages that would include a stay in Turkey.