Russia blames ‘misleading’ Israeli information for downing of plane

Russia blames ‘misleading’ Israeli information for downing of plane

Russia's military on Sunday blamed the downing of one of its planes in the Mediterranean Sea on "misleading" information from the Israeli air force. 

Russian military spokesman Igor Konashenkov said that Israeli command warned on the day of the incident that it would strike the "north of Syria," Agence France Presse reported.

Konashenkov said Russia ordered its plane to return to its base, but "one minute" after the call, Israeli F-16s struck targets in western Syria, according to the news service. 

"The misleading [information] by the Israeli officer regarding the location of the strikes made it impossible to guide the Il-20 to a safe location," Konashenkov said.

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Konashenkov previously accused the smaller Israeli fighters of using the Russian Il-20 plane as cover from Syrian air defenses. 

Israel disputed the accusations and promised to keep pursuing Iranian targets in Syria. 

The Israeli military said in a statement that its planes "did not hide behind any aircraft and that the Israeli aircraft were in Israeli airspace at the time of the downing of the Russian plane."

A Syrian air defense system shot down the Il-20 last week, killing the 15 soldiers on board in the deadliest known case of friendly fire between Syria and its key backer, Russia, since Moscow entered the civil war in 2015.