Russian Military Plane Carrying 14 Disappears Near Syrian Coast

The defence ministry in Moscow said the aircraft was returning to the Russian-run Hmeymim airbase in Latakia province when, at about 11:00 p.m. Moscow time (20:00 GMT) on Monday, it disappeared from radar screens.

Other attacks were reported on September 4 that targeted sites in the coastal Tartus area and in Hama province.

However, a United States official with knowledge of the attack, dismissed Russia's claims and told CNN the maritime patrol aircraft was actually inadvertently shot down by the Syrian regime.

Russia's defence ministry said early on Tuesday that one if its military aircraft with 14 people on board disappeared from radar screens over Syria at the same time that missiles were targeting Latakia.

"At the same time, the Russian radars fixed missile launches from the French frigate Auvergne, which was in that area", the Defense Ministry said.

CNN quoted the U.S. official as saying the Syrian army was actually trying to stop a barrage of Israeli missiles, and a second official confirmed that Israel was responsible for the missile strikes on the Syrian positions.

Russian military forces have launched a search operation.

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Syrian media has stated that a "number of missiles" have been shot down by its air defence network.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported the explosions, saying the target appeared to be an ammunition depot, part of the compound of the state Institute for Technical Industries.

Syrian military sources told SANA that the attack came from the direction of the sea and targeted an Organization for Technological Industries center in Latakia. An unidentified military official was quoted as saying Syrian air defenses intercepted some missiles heading for the provincial capital of Latakia from the sea. It is unclear if its air defence batteries were also engaged in the defence, or if the aircraft was hit by "friendly fire" from nearby Syrian forces.

This month, Israel acknowledged having carried out more than 200 strikes in war-ravaged Syria over the past 18 months, mainly against Iranian targets.

Russian Federation has issued conflicting reports about the source of the missile attack.

There has been no comment from the Israeli government about the night's attacks in Syria, which is standard policy regarding military action outside Israel.

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