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Israel Strikes Syria After Missile Lands Near Reactor

Israeli media called it an 'errant' projectile
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 22, 2021 12:07 AM CDT

(Newser) – A Syrian anti-aircraft missile landed in southern Israel early Thursday, setting off air raid sirens near the country's top-secret nuclear reactor, the Israeli military said. In response, it said it attacked the missile launcher and air-defense systems in neighboring Syria. It marked one of the most serious incidents of violence between Israel and Syria in years, the AP reports. However, Israeli media later described the Syrian missile as an "errant" projectile, not a deliberate attack deep inside Israel. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitoring group based in Britain that tracks Syria’s civil war, said the Israeli strikes hit an air defense base belonging to the Syrian military and destroyed air defense batteries in the area. It said the Syrian military fired surface-to-air missiles in response.

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Syria's state news agency SANA said the exchange began with an Israeli air strike on Dumeir, a suburb of the capital of Damascus, but it made no mention of an anti-aircraft missile landing deep inside Israel. The Israeli military described the projectile that landed near the nuclear site as a surface-to-air missile, which is usually used for air defense against warplanes or other missiles. That could suggest the Syrian missile had targeted Israeli warplanes but missed and flew off errantly. However, Dimona, the Negev desert town where Israel's nuclear reactor is located, is some 185 miles south of Damascus, a long range for an errantly fired surface-to-air missile. An Israeli official said early Thursday that the missile may have been an attempt to hit an aircraft striking targets in the Golan Heights, the Washington Post reports.

(Read more Israel stories.)

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