Israeli planes reportedly carried out airstrikes in northern Syria early Wednesday, Syrian state media said, killing one person and wounding six in the first alleged attacks since raids last month that saw a stray Syrian anti-aircraft missile explode in the Negev desert.
Syrian state media SANA reported that Syrian air defenses had engaged Israeli missiles near the port city of Latakia in northern Syria and Hama in the west. State TV said one person was killed and 6 injured. The report said the victims were civilians.
Videos posted on social media showed a large fire and several loud explosions at the blast site.
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SANA said the place was a plastic factory. Israel has reportedly bombed sites linked to Iran̵
A major fire with secondary explosions near Latakia, reported #Syria. pic.twitter.com/FHZSIgL9Td
– Joe Truzman (@Jtruzmah) May 5, 2021
The Israeli Defense Forces refused to comment on the strikes in the evening in accordance with its policy of neither confirming nor denying its operations in Syria, except for those retaliating against an attack from the country.
The IDF has launched hundreds of strikes in Syria since the start of the 2011 civil war against movements from Iran to establish a permanent military presence in the country and efforts to transport advanced, shifting weapons to terrorist groups in the region, primarily Hezbollah. .
Israeli aggression targets a civilian stockpile of plastic materials in rural Lattakia Governorate # Syria # Junepic.twitter.com/2CTPcSkQsT
– News agency (@uunionnews) May 5, 2021
The strike was the first 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 not offset by a targeted attack on a target inside Israel, but by a stray Syrian anti-aircraft missile fired at an Israeli jet during an IAF air strike on targets in the Syrian Golan Heights.
IDF troops launched an interceptor missile at the incoming projectile to try to shoot it down, apparently without success.
Pieces of the Syrian surface-to-air missile landed in open areas in the Ramat Negev region of southern Israel, local authorities said in a message to residents, where some pieces allegedly hit about 30 kilometers from the nuclear reactor in Dimona.
In response to the launch of surface-to-air missiles, Israeli jets carried out another round of airstrikes in Syria, bombing the battery that fired the projectile, as well as other air defense systems, the IDF said.
According to Syrian state media, four soldiers were wounded in the Israeli strike and material damage was caused.
The incident came amid tensions between Israel and Iran following an attack on Iran’s Natanz nuclear site earlier last month, which is largely attributed to the Jewish state. Iran has vowed to retaliate for the alleged Israeli sabotage.
IDF spokesman Hidai Zilberman stressed that the military did not believe this was a deliberate attack on the country or its nuclear facilities.
“There were no intentions to hit the nuclear reactor at Dimona,” Zilberman told reporters.
According to Zilberman, the projectile appeared to be a Russian-made SA-5 surface-to-air missile, a particularly large projectile that weighs several thousand kg with a warhead of 200 kg.
Residents of Jerusalem and central Israel reported feeling the echo of an explosion. It was not immediately clear whether this was caused by the Syrian missile or a failed interception attempt.
Although unusual, Syrian air missiles fired at Israeli fighter jets have previously caused damage and triggered sirens as they fell back to the ground.
In 2019, an SA-5 missile 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 landed on Israeli jets in eastern Israel, while a third landed on Jordanian territory without causing injury or damage. In that incident, the IDF fired an Arrow 2 interceptor at the incoming projectile in what was the first operational use of the system.
Judah Ari Gross contributed to this report