Israel has launched what it described as a large-scale air raid in after one of its F-16 fighters crashed while under n anti-aircraft fire.

Twelve sites, including four “ian targets” near the n capital, Damascus, were destroyed in the raid, according to an i military spokesman, Jonathan Conricus. It was not immediately clear whether there were any casualties.

The i F-16 was shot at as it returned on Saturday morning from a raid to destroy ian facilities accused of launching a drone into .

Both pilots managed to eject and landed in . One was badly injured. It was not clear if the jet was hit or if the pilots abandoned the plane.

Saturday’s violence was one of the most severe incidents involving , and Syria during ’s seven-year-old civil war. It is believed to be the first time has lost a jet in the conflict.

The jet was part of a mission deep into n territory to destroy what Conricus said was an ian drone control facility near the desert city of . The drone that entered i airspace was shot down and retrieved, he said.

“The ns and ians, from our point of view, are playing with fire,” Conricus said. “The event is still ongoing; it is by no means behind us.”

condemned for intercepting one of its drones. “Reports of downing an ian drone flying over and also ’s involvement in attacking an i jet are so ridiculous,” state TV quoted ’s foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi as saying. He said provided only “military advice” to .

n state media said air defences opened fire on the jets in response to an i act of aggression against a military base on Saturday.

“The i enemy entity at dawn today conducted a new aggression against one of the military bases in the central region. Our air defences confronted it and hit more than one plane,” the unidentified military source said.

Conricus said was “responsible for this severe violation of i sovereignty”.

“IDF ( Defence Forces) has targeted the ian control systems in that sent the [unmanned aircraft] into i airspace. Massive n anti-air fire, one F16 crashed in , pilots safe,” Conricus tweeted.

’s chief military spokesman, Brig Gen Ronen Manelis, said held directly responsible for the incident.

“This is a serious ian attack on i territory. is dragging the region into an adventure in which it doesn’t know how it will end,” he said. “Whoever is responsible for this incident is the one who will pay the price.”

Rocket alert sirens sounded in the i-held Golan Heights and in northern during confrontations, while flights to ’s international airport near Tel Aviv were briefly suspended.

On Tuesday the i prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, paid a rare visit to the - front and warned ’s enemies not to test its resolve. He did not mention by name or its Lebanese militia ally, Hezbollah, both main players in ’s civil war.

Netanyahu has been cautioning against any attempt by to deepen its military foothold in or construct factories in neighbouring Lebanon.