Benjamin Netanyahu’s military retaliated by destroying around half of Syria’s anti-aircraft batteries, according to an Israeli official who requested anonymity.
Tel Aviv has said it will press ahead with missions in Syria, where it has launched scores of sorties against suspected arms transfers to Iranian-sponsored Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas.
Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Liberman said: “There are no limitations, and nor do we accept any limitations.
“To paraphrase the known saying, ‘This is not the time to bark, it’s time to bite’ — and we’ll bite hard.”
Iran is backing Syria in the raging conflict enveloping the region, much to Israel’s alarm.
Iran has accused Iran of building precision-guided missile factories for Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Syria and Hezbollah celebrated the F-16 shoot-down as a blow to Israeli military superiority.
Israel’s Army Radio said on Tuesday that investigators believed pilot error – rather than Syrian capabilities – were mainly at fault for the F-16’s failure to evade what was probably an aged SA-5 missile.
But Iran said no “Israeli mistake” will be left without response and the recent incident challenged Israeli air superiority.
Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani said: “The claim [made] by the Zionists [that they had carried out sorties] to damage Iranian bases in Syria is a lie.”
Syria has also warned Israel against carrying out attacks and said it will surprise “the aggressor”.
Assistant Syrian Foreign Minister Ayman Sussan said: “Have full confidence the aggressor will be greatly surprised, because it thought this war – this war of attrition Syria has been exposed to for years – had made it incapable of confronting attacks.
“God willing, they will see more surprises whenever they try to attack Syria.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin responded by urging Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to avoid an escalation in Syria.
Moscow said on Monday it did not have information to support Israel’s allegation about an Iranian military presence in the site bombed for launching the drone.
Zeev Elkin, a Russian-speaking Israeli cabinet minister who serves as Netanyahu’s interpreter in the talks with Putin, said: “I don’t think the Russians ever pledged that they would take military action against the Iranians and the Syrians for us.
“We are going one-on-one against the Syrians. We don’t need assistance from the Russians. We know how to deal with Syrian anti-aircraft fire, as everyone ultimately saw.”