A Syrian missile exploded in southern Israel on Thursday, the Israeli military said, in an incident that triggered warning sirens near the secretive Dimona nuclear reactor and an Israeli strike in Syria.
An Israeli military spokesperson claimed the projectile to be an SA-5 surface-to-air missile fired by Syrian forces against Israeli aircraft. He said it overflew its target to reach the Dimona area, 200 Km south of the Syrian border. The missile did not hit the reactor by landing some 30 Km away, he added.
The military further said that a preliminary investigation showed that Israel’s anti-missile systems had not carried out an interception of the projectile. Israeli security sources said the missile exploded in mid-air.
In response, Israel launched further overnight attacks inside Syria, the military spokesman said, targeting several missile batteries, including the one that fired the SA-5.
Addressing the likelihood of a Syrian anti-aircraft missile overshooting its target and flying a long distance into Israel, Uzi Rubin, an Israeli missile expert, said the scenario was “consistent with the characteristics” of an SA-5. “The trajectory of a stray anti-aircraft missile on an unintended descent is very tricky to track,” he told Reuters.