Syrian anti-aircraft missile explodes 30km away from Israeli nuclear site

A Syrian missile exploded in southern Israel, about 30km from a secret nuclear site.

Warning sirens went off before a loud explosion was heard in the Dimona area. Dimona is said to have produced nuclear weapons, but Israel neither confirms nor denies having nuclear weapons under its policy. No injuries or damage were reported.

The Israeli military said the missile was one of several that had been fired towards an Israeli aircraft. It responded by attacking several air defence batteries in Syria.

Syria’s military said Israeli missiles targeted sites around Damascus.

Most of the missiles were intercepted and downed, but four Syrian soldiers were injured and there was “some material damage”, it added.

Israel frequently carries out strikes on Iran-linked targets in Syria, saying it will not tolerate what it considers Iranian military “entrenchment” in the country.

The Israeli military identified the surface-to-air missile that hit its southern Negev region as an SA-5.

It said the projectile, which overflew its target, was fired at the same time as Israel was conducting air strikes in southern Syria.

A preliminary investigation found that Israel’s missile defence system failed to intercept it.

Fragments of what appeared to be a missile were found in a garden in Ashalim, south-west of Dimona, but it was not clear whether they came from the SA-5 or the interceptor.

The Israeli military said it responded by striking the battery from which the SA-5 was launched and additional surface-to-air batteries in Syria.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitoring group, reported that an air defence base was hit in the town of Dumayr, about 40km north-east of Damascus, and that a Syrian army officer was killed.

Dumayr is believed to be the location of weapons depots belonging to Iran-backed militias fighting alongside the Syrian military in the country’s civil war.