Syrian missiles explode near Israeli nuclear reactor, Israel retaliates

Jerusalem — A Syrian missile exploded in southern Israel on Thursday, Israeli troops said, in an incident that caused a warning siren and an Israeli strike in Syria near the secret Dimona reactor.

An Israeli spokesman identified the projectile as an SA-5 surface-to-air missile launched by the Syrian army against an Israeli aircraft. He said he had exceeded his goal to reach the Dimona region, 200 km (125 miles) south of the Syrian border.

The missile did not hit the reactor and exploded about 30 km (19 miles) away, a spokesman added.

The sirens that rang overnight in the Dimona region during new global negotiations on Tehran’s nuclear program followed rising tensions between Israel and its close allies, President Bashar al-Assad of Iran and Syria. ..

Israeli media have said over the weeks that air defenses around the Dimona reactor and the port of Eilat in the Red Sea have been strengthened in anticipation of possible long-range missile or drone strikes by Iran-backed troops.

Israeli troops said in Ashalim that Israeli soldiers would investigate the area after a Syrian missile exploded in southern Israel.
Israeli forces said they were investigating the area after a Syrian missile exploded in Ashalim, southern Israel, on April 22, 2021. (Amir Cohen / Reuters)

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said in a public statement on Thursday that anti-aircraft missiles were launched from Syria during an Israeli strike on “assets that could be used in a potential attack on Israel.” Stated.

Gantz said the Israeli missile defense system tried to intercept the SA-5 but was unsuccessful.

“Most of the time we get other results. This is a slightly more complicated case. We will investigate it and move on,” he said. Israeli security sources said the missile exploded in the air.

In response, Israel launched further night attacks in Syria, a military spokesman said, targeting several missile batteries, including those that launched the SA-5.

The Syrian state news agency said the country’s air defense system intercepted Israeli rockets on the outskirts of Damascus and “shot down most of them.” It said four soldiers were injured and suffered some serious damage.

Syrian North Korean defectors said there were Iran-backed militias as Israel attacked a targeted location near the town of Dumar, about 40 km (25 miles) northeast of the capital. It is an area that has been repeatedly attacked by past Israeli attacks.

Dealing with the possibility of Syrian anti-aircraft missiles overshooting targets and flying long distances to Israel, Israeli missile expert Uzi Rubin said the scenario “matches the characteristics of the SA-5.” Said.

“The trajectory of a stray anti-aircraft missile on an unintended descent is very difficult to track,” he told Reuters.

“Israel’s air defense system can theoretically carry out such interceptions with proper preparation, but it will be at the edge of its capabilities.”

Dan Williams and Jeffrey Heller