Israel launches world's FIRST strikes with 1200mph supersonic F-35 fighter jets

Israeli military tweet

"The Chief of Air Staff is expected to meet and interact with Chiefs and senior Commanders of Air Forces from over 20 countries attending the event", the IAF said in a statement.

'In our response attack, more than 100 ground to air missiles were fired at our planes'.

Congress is set to consider a new measure to recognize Israel's sovereignty over the contested Golan Heights region that separates Israel from Syria, a key piece of territory that has become all the more important since the civil war in Syria brought scores of jihadist fighters, including those backed by Iran, into the region.

Last year, Defence Secretary James Mattis had to defend the programme after then President-elect Donald Trump tweeted criticising its huge price, said to be close to $100m (£74m) per plane.

Maj Gen Amikam Norkin told heads of 20 foreign air forces meeting in Israel: "We are flying the F-35 all over the Middle East and have already attacked twice on two different fronts". He did not specify the targets.

Washington's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital in December and the subsequent relocation of the United States embassy have been widely criticized around the world, with the longstanding worldwide position being that Jerusalem's status should only be recognized as part of a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.

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Israel declared initial operational capability of the US -made jet last December after receiving nine F-35s, with the rest 41 planes to be received to make two full squadrons by 2024.

Manufactured by Lockheed Martin Corp in the USA, the F-35 is known as the Joint Strike Fighter and, in Israel, by its Hebrew name "Adir" (Mighty). The jets are believed to be the conventional takeoff and landing F-35A.

Israel's subsequent strikes against Iranian targets inside Syria were reported to be the most extensive since the two countries signed a disengagement agreement after the October war of 1973.

Iran has hundreds of personnel in Syria, who it says serve as military advisers to the Syrian army. It has also sent thousands of volunteer fighters in support of the Syrian government.

The country has agreed to buy 50 of the American high-tech stealth bombers, which will help it maintain military superiority in the turbulent Middle East, particularly regarding anti-aircraft missile systems in Syria. The United States has declined for decades to take a position on the status of this territory, but following President Donald Trump's decision to move the USA embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, DeSantis and others see an opportunity for the United States to recognize another territorial reality-that the Golan Heights will not be given back to Syria, particularly in light of the strife gripping the country. It was seemingly the first time Israel attributed an attack directly to Iran rather than its proxies. Its military is often quiet about its operations and there were reports that the stealth fighter had been used operationally as early as January previous year.

However, it has also come in for heavy criticism and not just over the price.

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