A Syrian anti-aircraft missile landed in southern Israel early Thursday, setting off air-raid sirens near the country’s top-secret nuclear reactor, the Israeli military said. In response, Israel said it attacked the missile launcher and air-defense systems in neighboring Syria.
The Israeli military said the missile was one of several that had earlier been fired towards an Israeli aircraft. It responded by attacking several air defence batteries in Syria. In recent years, Israel has repeatedly launched airstrikes on Syria, including military targets linked to Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah militia, both allies of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Such strikes routinely draw Syrian anti-aircraft fire. Syrian state news agency SANA said the exchange began with an Israeli airstrike on Dumeir, a suburb of the capital of Damascus. The area was believed to be the location of weapons depots belonging to Iran-backed militias fighting alongside the Syrian military in the country’s civil war. SANA said four soldiers were wounded. The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war-monitoring group 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. Syrian media made no mention of an anti-aircraft missile landing deep inside Israel.