Israeli army strikes Syrian missile batteries after the explosion in the vicinity of the Dimona nuclear site in the south of the country.
The Israeli army says a Syrian anti-aircraft missile missed its target and exploded near a nuclear facility in the southern city of Dimona, an attack a military spokesman said was likely an accident.
There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage in the incident that triggered warning sirens in the area near the hidden Dimona nuclear reactor. The Israeli military said the nuclear site was not affected by the blast.
Reporting from West Jerusalem, Harry Fawcett of Al Jazeera said the Syrian missile that fell near Dimona was a considerable explosion audible in Jerusalem, about 150 km (93 miles) away from the site.
An Israeli military spokesman said the Syrian missile was fired at Israeli aircraft during an earlier strike and flew over its target and reached the Dimona area.
The stray Syrian missile was an SA-5, one of several shot down by Israeli air forces, according to the spokesman.
The Israeli military said that in response to the launch, it attacked several missile batteries in Syria, including the one that fired the projectile that hit its territory.
“A surface-to-air missile was fired from Syria into Israel’s southern Negev. In response, we struck the battery from which the missile was launched, and additional ground-based air batteries in Syria, ”the Israeli military said.
Syria captures Israeli attack ‘
Syria’s state news agency, SANA, said Syrian air defenses had captured the Israeli attack, which targeted areas in the suburbs of Damascus early Thursday.
“Air defenses seized the rockets and shot down most of them,” the SANA news agency said. However, four soldiers were injured in the attack and some material damage occurred, it said.
According to the British Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), Israeli missiles hit the Syrian government air defense base in the town of Dmeir – about 40 km (25 miles) northeast of Damascus.
Since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011, Israel has routinely carried out attacks in Syria, mostly targeting Iranian and Lebanese Hezbollah forces as well as government troops. But it has rarely publicly acknowledged them.
Israel has long sought to prevent Iran’s bitter enemy from establishing itself in the war-torn nation.
The latest missile launch comes as tensions rise between Israel and Iran, and Tehran promises “revenge” after the sabotage of its Natanz uranium enrichment plant.
Iran has said it believes Israel was behind the incident – when a small explosion hit the power plant’s power distribution earlier this month.
Israel has not claimed responsibility for the incident, but unsourced media reports in the country have attributed it to the Israeli security services carrying out a “cyber operation”.
The New York Times, citing unnamed U.S. and Israeli intelligence officials, also said there was an “Israeli role” in the attack.
“In the context of what has happened in recent weeks, the very high tensions between Iran and Israel over the Iranian nuclear program and the attack attributed to Israel on the Iranian Natanz facility, there was immediate concern that this could be the next step in this shadow is conflict, very dangerous and escalating, “Fawcett said.
“However, what the Israeli military said was that a Syrian anti-aircraft battery targeting the incoming Israeli supplies flew over its target and went as far as Israel and exploded over southern Israel. For that there is some precedent,” he explained.