A Syrian surface-to-air missile yesterday exploded in southern Israel, the Israeli military said, in an incident that triggered warning sirens in an area near the secretive Dimona nuclear reactor.
There were no immediate reports of any injuries or damage in Israel.
The military said that in response to the launch, it attacked several missile batteries in Syria, including the one that fired the projectile that struck its territory.
Syria’s state news agency said that Syrian air defenses intercepted the Israeli attack that targeted areas in the Damascus suburbs.
“Air defenses intercepted the rockets and downed most of them,” the agency said.
Four soldiers were injured in the attack and some material damage took place, it said.
A Syrian military defector said the Israeli strikes targeted locations near the town of Dumair, about 40km northeast of Damascus, where Iranian-backed militias have a presence. It is an area that Israel has hit repeatedly in past attacks
An Israeli military spokesman said the Syrian missile had been fired at Israeli aircraft during an earlier strike and had overflown its target and reached the Dimona area.
The errant Syrian missile was an SA-5, one of several fired at Israeli air force planes, the spokesman said, adding that it did not hit the reactor, but landed about 30km away.
A Reuters reporter about 90km north of Dimona heard the sound of an explosion minutes before the military wrote on Twitter that sirens had gone off in the region.
Israeli media have said for weeks that air defenses around the Dimona reactor and the Red Sea port of Eilat were being beefed up in anticipation of a possible long-range missile or drone attack by Iranian-backed forces — perhaps from as far away as Yemen.
Tensions are high between Israel and Iran over Tehran’s nuclear program and a recent surge in sabotage attacks, some of which the two have blamed on each other.
The Saudi Arabia-led coalition battling Yemen’s Houthis early yesterday intercepted a drone attack by the Iran-aligned movement on Khamis Mushait, Saudi Arabia, state media reported.
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