Israel on Thursday retaliated against Syria, which had launched an advanced surface-to-air missile that hit in the Negev Desert.
Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) said Thursday that in response, it attacked several missile batteries in Syria, including the one that fired the missile at Israel.
“A surface-to-air missile was fired from Syria to Israel’s southern Negev,” the Israel Defense Forces tweeted. “In response, we struck the battery from which the missile was launched and additional surface-to-air batteries in Syria.”
BREAKING: A surface-to-air missile was fired from Syria to Israel’s southern Negev.
In response, we struck the battery from which the missile was launched and additional surface-to-air batteries in Syria.
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) April 22, 2021
“Syria’s state news agency said Syrian air defenses intercepted the Israeli attack that had targeted areas in the Damascus suburbs,” The Jerusalem Post reported. “Air defenses intercepted the rockets and downed most of them,” the agency said. But four Syrian soldiers were reportedly injured in the attack and there was damage to facilities, it said.
Syria claimed it fired the missile in retaliation for what it claims was an Israeli Air Force bombing near Damascus. Israel’s attempt to intercept the missile failed. “The IDF activated its air defense systems in an attempt to intercept the missile, but the attempt failed,” the Post reported. “The military is investigating why its air defenses failed to intercept the SA-5 and did not intercept the large warhead. ”
“Early reports indicated that the explosion was the result of a Patriot missile defense system battery responding to the firing of the missile into Israel. The IDF later confirmed the reports and on Thursday morning, missile parts were located in the swimming pool of the Negev community of Ashalim,” said the paper.
The Associated Press later said the Syrian missile was fired by accident and not aimed at Israel’s top-secret nuclear reactor.
“The Israeli military said Thursday that a Syrian missile that reached deep into Israeli territory and set off air raid sirens near the country’s top-secret nuclear reactor was the result of a misfire and not a deliberate attack,” wrote the AP. “The missile landed in southern Israel early Thursday, prompting Israel to respond with airstrikes on the missile launcher and other targets in Syria.”
The army’s chief spokesman, Brig. Gen. Hidai Zilberman, was quoted as telling military correspondents that the Israeli air force was already operating in Syrian airspace when the anti-aircraft missile was fired. He said the projectile, identified as a Russian-made SA-5 missile, missed its target and flew some 300 kilometers (200 miles) before exploding in southern Israel.
The missile, also known as an S200, set off air raid sirens in a village just a few kilometers (miles) from Dimona, the southern desert town where Israel’s nuclear reactor is located.
“There was no intention of hitting the nuclear reactor in Dimona,” Zilberman was quoted as saying.
The AP also claimed the Syrian attack was retaliation.
“The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitoring group based in Britain that tracks Syria’s civil war, said the Israeli strikes hit an air defense base belonging to the Syrian military and destroyed air defense batteries in the area. It said the Syrian military fired surface-to-air missiles in response,” the AP wrote.
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