A Syrian missile exploded in the area of the Dimona nuclear reactor in the Negev Desert. The missile had targeted an Israeli F-16. The Israelis responded with an airstrike against the missile launcher and air defense systems in Syria.

An Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) spokesman said that an SA-5 surface-to-air missile was launched from Syria. It flew about 125 miles to within 18 miles of the Dimona nuclear site where it exploded in mid-air. 

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

The Syrian surface-to-air missile (SAM) was considered an “errant” miss. Interestingly, the missile was fired from 125 miles away in Damascus. This is a very long range for a SAM used for air defenses.

The Iranians have a military presence throughout Syria and they would probably have been involved in such a move.

According to the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), an opposition watchdog on the Syrian civil war, the Israeli missiles hit the Syrian air defense base in the town of Dmeir, about 25 miles northeast of Damascus. Further, SOHR said that the strikes destroyed air defense batteries causing casualties.

Nevertheless, Syrian state news SANA said that “most” of the missiles were intercepted and that there were four soldiers wounded with some material damage. 

Israel has conducted numerous airstrikes in Syria. It has targeted military sites linked to the Iranian military and its proxy forces including the Lebanese Hezbollah militia, which is likewise a Syrian ally. Such strikes routinely draw Syrian anti-aircraft fire.