A civil plane with 172 passengers on board made an emergency landing at the Russian-run Khmeimim airbase in Syria, barely avoiding an Israeli missile attack, the Russian Defense Ministry said Friday.
The Airbus 320 airliner, which took off from Tehran, had to change its route while approaching the Damascus International Airport in the early hours on Thursday, the ministry’s spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in a statement.
Four Israeli F-16 fighters launched air-to-ground missiles against eight suburbs of Damascus at the time, without entering Syrian airspace, the spokesman said.
Israeli radar systems could clearly see regular passenger flights in the area of the Damascus International Airport, Konashenkov said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Thursday that up to 12 pro-Iran fighters were killed in the Israeli attack.
The shelling also targeted air defense batteries and weapon depots, destroying many of them, according to the observatory.
The strike highlighted the sprawling tensions between Israel and Iran in Syria, which have escalated over the past months. Enditem