Times of Israel: In rare face-off, Russian jets reportedly intercept Israeli planes over Lebanon

SU-34 planes said to have challenged IAF F-16s in Tripoli's skies despite mechanism to avoid conflicts between Moscow and Jerusalem

A Russian air force technician reports to a pilot that a Su-34 bomber is ready for a combat mission at Hemeimeem airbase in Syria on January 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Vladimir Isachenkov)

In a rare incident Israeli warplanes were reportedly intercepted by Russian fighter jets over Lebanon early Monday morning, despite an understanding in place between Moscow and Jerusalem to avoid conflict between the two countries.

Hadashot news, citing Lebanese and Russian media outlets, said that 2 Israeli Air Force F-16 planes were challenged by Sukhoi Su-34 jets over Tripoli and forced away.

Video circulated of the Russian planes flying over Lebanon, but the clip did not show any Israeli jets.

Abdallah Samra@AbdallahSamra92

من المنية طيران حربي لم يعرف لمن بعد و عل الارجح طيران روسي

According to the reports cited by Hadashot, the Russian planes may have been taking part in drills off the coast of Lebanon and Syria but were forced to land due to bad weather conditions.

Al Masdar news said it was the first time in months that Russian planes had entered Lebanese airspace from Syria. The news agency said the reason for the mission was unknown.

Israeli jets reportedly often fly over Lebanese airspace conducting reconnaissance missions. Reports have also said that many of Israel’s attacks on targets in Syria have been launched from Lebanese airspace.

Last week IAF commander Amikam Norkin revealed that an Israeli F-35 fighter jet conducted airstrikes on at least two occasions. He showed visiting air force officers from other countries a photograph of the stealth fighter jet flying over the Lebanese capital of Beirut, in what could be seen as a tacit threat to the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror group.

A photograph of an Israeli F-35 stealth fighter jet flying over the Lebanese capital of Beirut, which was apparently leaked to Israel’s Hadashot news. (Screen capture)

Earlier this month Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he had no reason to believe the Kremlin would try to limit Israel’s freedom of operation in the region.

In light of the heavy Russian presence in Syria, Israel in September 2015 set up a mechanism with Moscow — involving work groups led by the deputy chiefs of both militaries — to avoid conflicts and potentially fatal misunderstandings.

However, senior air force official stressed that this system was limited: Israel does not inform the Russians before conducting airstrikes in Syria, nor does Russia let the Israelis in on its plans.

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  1. What does Tulsi Gabbard have to say about “The Israeli-owned 38 megawatt plant typically provides around 25 percent of electricity on the Big Island, according to local power utility Hawaii Electric Light.” ?

  2. “It’s an ill-wind that doesn’t blow some good” as my grandmother liked to say and if two Israeli F-16’s weren’t intercepted over Lebanon according to the Russian MoD well the entire Israeli Air Force and Army took a hit from VT as Jim Dean’s coverage of the House amendment against Trump declaring war against Iran has just appeared in the highly regarded Russia news outlet IA Rex. Was beginning to worry that the MSM had it tentacles as far as Russia to put a Gremlin in the Kremlin Media Works. Let’s see if Sputniknews and RT can follow suit.


  3. Two points arise.

    (1) Seems probable Russian surveillance has been extended to include Lebanese airspace – not to mention all Israeli flight activity, to protect Syria from continued raids by the IAF. If so, Israeli war-mongers must be incandescent with rage to have their missile strikes to aid and abet ISIS terrorists blocked. It begs the question too whether Russia (denying Syria the S-400 system) have taken up the slack themselves and – fully alert to all Israeli air activity, now intend to thwart IAF raids on Syria from Lebanese airspace. The Iranian excuse is no longer valid. It was only good for so long and now that Putin intends to remove Hezbollah and Iranian presence from the Syrian border area with Israel they have no logical reason to violate Lebanese airspace to attack Syria except to bolster terrorist activity by their proxy forces on the ground.

    (2) The report indicates the Israeli pilots were challenged and forced to back off indicating full intent by Russia to ward off the incursion. Even Israeli reconnaissance over Lebanon will be challenged it seems, as pictures of F-35’s over Beirut can only be seen for what they are, a provocation. Lieberman, it appears is on his way to Moscow to meet with his Russian counter-part. Would like to be a fly on the wall for that conversation.

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