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File photo of Sukhoi SU-24, the type of jet Israel shot down

Israel has downed a Syrian fighter jet over the Golan Heights in what could amount to a hugely destabilising move between the long-feuding states.

A Patriot missile successfully targeted the Russian-built Sukhoi SU-24 after it flew half a mile inside Israeli airspace, according to the IDF.

As Syrian state TV showed images of the falling debris, officials reacted with anger, describing the Israeli action as an act of aggression “in the framework of Israel’s support for terrorists”.

While the plane was destroyed, the crew managed to eject in time, landing back in Syrian territory.

Israel’s Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon said: “We will not allow (any) element, whether it is a terror group or a state, to threaten our security and breach our sovereignty.¬†We are committed first and foremost to ensure the security of the Israel’s citizens and we will use all means at our disposal to do so.”