The United States has confirmed it shot down an Israeli aircraft using a surface-to-air missile when Israeli jets violated the Iraqi no-fly zone.
The incident happened at 8:15 EST, Saturday, Feb. 27, as Israeli fighters were en route to Iran. The jets needed to cross Iraqi territory to reach Iran and their planned targets. Friday, at 8 p.m. Iranian time, Israel launched attacks against six sites, all of which had nuclear processing facilities. During that attack, Israeli jets crossed Saudi airspace.
Both the United States and Saudi Arabia denied complicity in Israel’s attack, but those denials were met with doubt across much of the Middle East.
After a day of violence—coordinated attacks against American troops in Iraq and an assault on the holy city of Medina and worries of radioactive contamination—the United Nations called for negotiations.
Negotiations did not go well. The United States took the unprecedented step of firing on an ally with whom it has always had a special relationship, Israel. In a written statement, the United States explained it was necessary to prevent further destabilization of the region.
“We hope that these efforts will become the grounds for greater future cooperation with Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Iran, and demonstrate our commitment to providing peace and security to the Muslim world. The United States requests that the Iranians cease any and all support to Hamas and Hezbollah and publically condemn their attacks on Israel. The United States requests that our close, long-term ally, Israel realizes the position in which we had been placed and that maintaining our established policy was the only recourse. Israel should take a greater role in peace agreements going forward. The United States will continue to do all within its power to seek continued stability and prosperity in the Middle East and throughout the world,” according to the written statement.