Russia’s defence ministry said one of its military surveillance aircraft with 14 people on board disappeared from radar screens over the Mediterranean at the same time as Israeli and French forces were mounting aerial attacks on targets in Syria.
“Connection has been lost with the crew of a Russian Il-20 plane over the Mediterranean Sea,” the ministry said. Contact was lost at about 23:00 local time (20:00 GMT) on Monday, it added.
There are conflicting reports as to who is responsible for the downing of the aircraft, however the US claims it was accidentally shot down by the Syrian regime’s anti-aircraft artillery after the Syrians came under fire by Israeli missiles.
A US official said Washington believed the aircraft, the turbo-prop plane used for electronic reconnaissance, was inadvertently shot down by anti-aircraft artillery operated by Moscow’s ally, the Syrian Government.
Russsia’s Defence Ministry said the aircraft was returning to the Russian-run Hmeymim airbase in Latakia province when it disappeared from radar screens at about 11:00pm Moscow time.
The plane was over the Mediterranean Sea about 35 kilometres from the Syrian coastline, Russia’s TASS news agency quoted the ministry as saying in a statement.
The fate of the 14 people on board the missing plane is unknown, and a rescue operation has been organised out of the Hmeymim base, the ministry said.
32 dead, 1 missing in Papua attacks, Indonesian police say
JAYAPURA, INDONESIA- Security forces tried to recover the bodies of 31 construction workers and a soldier who were killed in one of the worst separatist attacks in Indonesia’s restive province of Papua, officials said Tuesday.
Papua police spokesman Suryadi Diaz said 24 workers were killed on Sunday when gunmen stormed a government bridge construction project in a remote mountainous village in Nduga district.
Citing reports from several witnesses, Diaz said, eight other workers fled to the nearby house of a local parliament member, but an armed group came a day later and killed seven of them. However the eighth managed to escape and remains missing.
“This is the worst attack launched by the armed criminal group recently amid intensified development by the government,” Diaz told The Associated Press.
Separately, Papua province military spokesman Lt. Col. Dax Sianturi said an armed group attacked a military post in Mbua village in the same district late Monday, killing a soldier and injuring another.Follow @gorkhapost