A Syrian surface-to-air missile (SAM) fired at an Israeli Air Force fighter jet that had been involved in airstrikes on targets in Syria exploded in Israel’s southern Negev region early on Thursday.
Warning sirens went off in the region of the Bedouin village of Abu Qrenat, in the northwest Negev, the Israel Defense Forces said. Residents in the south and in Jerusalem reported hearing a loud blast, according to a report by Mako.
Iran could have been targeting Israel’s nuclear facility in Dimona which is close to the site of the explosion.
Soon afterward, the IAF “struck the battery from which the missile was launched and additional Syrian surface-to-air batteries in the area,” the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said in a statement.
A Syrian military source told the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) that the IAF struck targets in the Damascus and Golan regions, adding that Syrian air defense systems were activated. The source claimed that Syrian interceptor missiles were able to shoot down most of the Israeli missiles.
SANA said in its reports that four Syrian soldiers sustained injuries in an Israeli strike south of Damascus and that the attack caused damage.
According to the U.K.-based war monitor Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), several air defense batteries were destroyed in the strikes.
SOHR sources also reported hearing a loud explosion on Thursday morning, followed by several additional explosions, on the outskirts of the city of ar-Ruhayba in Eastern Qalamoun. According to SOHR, the blasts occurred at ammunition depots belonging to the Syrian Army’s 3rd Division. Flames were seen rising from the ammunition depots for about three hours before the regime forces extinguished the fires. At least 10 members of regime forces were injured while trying to put out the fires and were evacuated to hospitals in Damascus. The source of the blast was unknown.
In 2017, a Syrian SAM heading toward the Jordan Valley triggered sirens before being intercepted by Israel’s Arrow missile defense system. The incident was the first time the Arrow had been used operationally.
In 2019, what was believed to be an errant Syrian SAM landed in northern Cyprus.