Syrian missile explodes near Israeli nuclear reactor causing panic, IDF bombs Syria

An Iranian attack on the Dimona nuclear facility was ruled out, with the incident chalked up to a stray Syrian anti-aircraft missile that missed Israeli warplanes.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

Israeli Air Force jets attacked targets in Syria early Thursday after a Syrian anti-aircraft missile triggered alarms in southern Israel, the IDF said.

The older model Russian-made SA-5 missile was apparently fired at Israeli planes, missed its target and kept flying until it reached southern Israel in the area of Dimona, near Israel’s nuclear facility.

Air raid alerts were given in the Bedouin towns that dot the area where the missile crashed, but there were no reports of damage or injuries. Unconfirmed reports said Patriot anti-missile batteries were activated to intercept the missile.

A Palestinian resident in the Judean mountains underneath the flight path of the missile told World Israel News he was woken up in the middle of the night by loud explosions.

The IDF said following the incident it launched retaliatory strikes on Syria.

“A surface-to-air missile was fired from Syria to Israel’s southern Negev. In response, we struck the battery from which the missile was launched and additional surface-to-air batteries in Syria,” the IDF said in a statement.

“There was a surface-to-air missile fired, apparently an SA5 model, that drifted into Israel and fell in the Negev,” IDF Spokesman Brig. Gen. Hidai Zilberman told a briefing of military reporters. “There was no deliberate firing here or there. They fired at [Israel] Air Force planes over the Syrian Golan. The range of the SA5 is hundreds of kilometers.”

The head of the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, Maj. Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin, told Israel Army Radio the incident was not connected to any Iranian revenge attack on Israel.

“The arena is very tense, [Hezbollah terror group leader Hassan] Nasrallah and the Iranians have open accounts with Israel. However, I suggest taking a deep breath – this is not an Iranian missile destined for Dimona, although there is a desire to connect it with the incident in Natanz,” Yadlin said, referring to an attack earlier this month at the Iranian nuclear facility.

Iran blamed Israel for the incident and threatened to take revenge, but Yadlin pointed out that the missile involved was known for its shortcomings in battle.

“The missile that was fired is an old missile against transport planes,” Yadlin said. “When I was a major, in ’83, we were already planning how to attack it. When it does not hit the plane, it flies to the end of its range.”

Both Yadlin and Zilberman said it was simply a coincidence that the range of the SA-5 took it from northern Israel to the vicinity of Dimona and the nearby Israeli nuclear facility.