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One of those planes, a United States-made F-16, crashed on its return from that mission, landing in an empty field near near the northern Israeli village of Harduf, and one of the pilots was injured as they ejected, the Israeli military said.

Iran's involvement in Syria in support of President Bashar Assad in a almost seven-year-old civil war - including the deployment of Iran-backed forces near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights - has alarmed Israel, which has said it would counter any threat.

The IDF will continue to act against "any attempt to infiltrate Israeli airspace and will act with determination to prevent any breach of Israeli sovereignty", said the IDF.

A statement on Central Military Media, which is allied with the Syrian military, called Israel's attack on the drone site a "terrorist act", warning of "a tough and serious response".

"This is not the first time that we have warned you of Iran's risky actions that undermine the situation in our region", ambassador Danny Danon wrote in the letter.

The military says it planes struck 12 targets Saturday including three aerial defense batteries and four Iranian targets that are part of 's military establishment in.

However, Russia has voiced serious concern about the latest developments in Syria and called on all sides to avoid an escalation of the situation.

The Israeli army claims to have the debris of the drone. The Israeli pilots of the crashed F16 were alive, although one was severely wounded, the military said.

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The military called the drone infiltration a "severe and irregular violation of Israeli sovereignty" and said Iran would be held responsible for its outcome, marking a dramatic escalation in tensions along its northern border.

Earlier, the IDF said that a combat helicopter successfully intercepted an Iranian UAV that was launched from Syria and infiltrated Israel.

"The Syrians and the Iranians are playing with fire", Israeli military spokesman Ronen Manelis said on the army's Twitter feed. Tillerson may also be involved in mediating between Iran and Israel after Saturday's escalation. Netanyahu added that Israel has "the right and the obligation" to defend itself. "I reiterated Israel's right and obligation to defend itself against attacks coming from Syria".

"Over the past four decades, since the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, the United States has gained no significant achievement in the region", he noted.

"We consider it necessary to respect absolutely Syria's and the region's other countries' sovereignty and territorial integrity", Russia's TASS news agency quoted the Foreign Ministry as saying.

Hizbollah and Israel last fought a major conflict in 2006.

The army said anti-aircraft missiles were fired toward Israel during the airstrike, triggering rocket sirens to sound in the Golan Heights and northern Israel.

Israel also sent a similar message to the USA administration to mediate to defuse tension between Israel and Lebanon over Israel's building of a border fence between the two countries.

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