Photo: Flash90

IDF probes Syrian missile strike

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) investigation is underway into the explosion of a a “surface-to-air missile” fired “from Syrian territory toward Israeli air space” that “exploded over the Mediterranean Sea.”

By Jonathan Hessen and Erin Viner

Residents of central Israel reported the sound of a blast early this morning, and many discovered fragments of an SA-5 missile on their property this morning that were later collected by police bomb-disposal units. No injuries or damage were reported.

The incident occurred shortly after unidentified aircraft struck a number of targets in Syria’s southern Rif Dimashq Governorate, reportedly destroying military installations that were operated by Iranian-proxy militias.

At approximately 01:20 AM, multiple waves of air-to-surface missiles penetrated Syrian airspace from the direction of Lebanon.

The Syrian Armed Forces (SAF) responded by launching surface-to-air Russian-made SA-5 missiles in the direction of the attacking aircraft and incoming projectiles. Even though SAF sources claimed that “most of the hostile missiles” had successfully been “shot down,” several installations in the vicinity of the capital Damascus sustained material damage in direct strikes.

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), which is run by Syrian opposition figures, identified the targeted military positions as “centers used by Iranian-backed militias for developing weapons in scientific research centers” in the northern Damascus neighborhood of Barzeh and the village of “Jamraya” northeast of the capital.

Separate reports on the ground confirmed that a number of warehouses were targeted in a south-western neighborhood of Damascus. 

There were no immediate reports about casualties. Eyewitness accounts of ambulances rushing to the targeted installations were rejected by regime officials as ‘blatant lies.’

Syria immediately accused Israel of being behind the attack. The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit has declined to either deny or confirm involvement in the incident.

Following the alleged Israeli strike, several cargo planes reportedly departed from Tehran en route to  Damascus. The SAF is also believed to have deployed more surface-to-air batteries in areas surrounding the capital in anticipation of additional strikes over the weekend.