US expresses ‘sorrow’ over plane downed in Syria, Russia summons Israel envoy

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Russia on Tuesday summoned the Israeli ambassador after a Russian plane was shot down over Syria, an incident Moscow has blamed on Israel’s air force.

“The Israeli ambassador has been summoned to the foreign ministry over the situation,” a ministry representative told AFP.

Ambassador Gary Koren’s deputy Keren Cohen Gat, currently the charge d’affaires at the Israeli embassy, went to the foreign ministry on Tuesday for a meeting of about 30 minutes.

She refused to comment to media as she exited the building.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday that the US “expresses its sorrow” for the death of the Russian plane crew downed in Syria.

Pompeo said the incident underscores “the need to end Iran’s transit of dangerous weapons systems through Syria.”

The Russian Il-20 warplane with 15 people on board was shot down by the Syrian air defense late Monday.

Russia’s defense ministry said “full blame” rests with the Israeli aircraft which carried out strikes on Syria’s Latakia province and “used the Russian plane as a cover”.

Israel’s military has expressed “sorrow” over deaths of Russian servicemen, though denied its planes had already left Syrian airspace when the Russian plane was taken down.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu discussed the matter with his Israeli counterpart Avigdor Lieberman on Tuesday, warning that Moscow could retaliate with unspecified “measures”.

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