Days after a Russian fighter jet was shot down by Turkey after it allegedly violated its airspace, Israel's Defence Minister Moshe Ya'alon said on Sunday that a similar incident was averted after a Russian plane entered Israeli airspace.
The Russian plane had entered 1.5 km into Israel from Golan Heights in Syria, but retreated after Israel made communication with the pilot. It is not clear when the airspace violation occurred.
"There was a slight intrusion about 1.5-km deep (into Israeli airspace), but the matter was immediately resolved as the Russian plane returned towards Syria," Ya'alon said while speaking on Israel Radio. He called the incursion a 'mistake' and said it was not intended to be an attack for the plane to have been shot down.
"Russian planes don't intend to attack us and therefore there is no need to automatically, even if there is some kind of mistake, shoot them down," the Israeli minister said.
Israeli military officials had earlier said that 'Russia was not the enemy' and that Israel will not shoot down Russian planes even if they enter its airspace, according to The Jerusalem Post.
Last week, tensions between Turkey and Russia reached an all-time low after a Russian Su-24 fighter jet was shot down by Turkish F-16 jets and it crashed on the Syrian side of the border. One pilot was killed after he was shot by Syrian rebels while parachuting out of the jet.
This was the first such direct attack on a Russian warplane by a NATO member in over five decades.
Russia imposed a travel ban to Turkey and also put down economic sanctions, including banning some Turkish goods.