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Damascus: Israeli airstrikes hit targets in northern Syria, killing one

Israeli planes reportedly carried out air strikes in northern Syria early Wednesday, Syrian state media reported, killing one person and wounding six in the first alleged attacks since last month’s attacks in which a faulty Syrian anti-aircraft missile exploded in the Negev desert.

Syrian state media SANA reported that the Syrian air defense has engaged Israeli missiles near the port city of Latakia in northern Syria and Hama in the west. State television reported that one person was killed and six injured. The report says the victims are civilians.

Videos posted on social media showed a large fire and several powerful explosions at the site of the explosion.

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SANA said the site is a plastics factory. Israel has reportedly bombed sites linked to alleged missile production in Iran and weapons depots in the Latakia and Hama regions.

Israeli defense forces declined to comment on the night’s strikes, in line with their policy of neither confirming nor denying their operations in Syria, except for those retaliating for the country’s attack.

The ISIS has launched hundreds of strikes in Syria since the start of the civil war in 2011 against Iran’s actions to establish a permanent military presence in the country and efforts to transport advanced, game-changing weapons to terrorist groups in the region, mainly Hezbollah.

The strike is the first to be reported since April 22, when a Syrian surface-to-air missile crashed to the ground near the Dimona nuclear reactor.

The Israeli Defense Forces said the sirens were fired not by a targeted attack on a target in Israel, but by a faulty Syrian anti-aircraft missile fired at an Israeli jet during an IAF air strike on targets in the Syrian Golan Heights.

IDF troops fired an interceptor missile at the oncoming projectile to try to shoot it down, apparently unsuccessfully.

Pieces of the Syrian surface-to-air missile landed in open areas in the Ramat Negev area in southern Israel, local authorities said in a statement to residents, with some pieces hitting about 30 kilometers from the Dimona nuclear reactor.

In response to the launch of the surface-to-air missile, Israeli jets carried out a second round of air strikes in Syria, bombing the battery that fired the projectile, as well as other air defense systems, the IS said.

According to Syrian state media, four soldiers were injured in the Israeli strike and suffered material damage.

The incident came amid peak tensions between Israel and Iran following an attack on Iran’s Natanz nuclear site earlier last month, which is widely attributed to the Jewish state. Iran has vowed revenge for alleged Israeli sabotage.

Fragments of a Syrian SA-5 missile fired at Israel, which landed in a swimming pool in the Ashalim community in the northern part of the Negev, on April 22, 2021 (courtesy)

IS spokesman Hidai Zilberman stressed that the military did not believe it was a deliberate attack on the country or the nuclear facility.

“There was no intention of hitting the Dimona nuclear reactor,” Zilberman told reporters.

According to Zilberman, the projectile appeared to be a Russian SA-5 surface-to-air missile, a particularly large projectile weighing several thousand kilograms with a 200-kilogram warhead.

Residents of Jerusalem and central Israel said they felt the echo of the explosion. It was not immediately clear whether this was caused by a Syrian missile strike or a failed interception attempt.

Although unusual, Syrian surface-to-air missiles fired at Israeli warplanes have in the past caused damage and triggered sirens when they fell back to the ground.

In 2019, an SA-5 rocket, which was fired at an Israeli plane, landed in northern Cyprus, causing an explosion and a large fire in a village there.

In 2017, two SA-5 missiles fired at Israeli planes landed in eastern Israel, while a third landed in Jordanian territory without causing injury or damage. In this incident, the ID fired an intercepting arrow 2 firing at the incoming projectile during the first operational use of the system.

Judah Ari Gross contributed to this report

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