The Israeli military says a Syrian missile fired towards an Israeli warplane has overflown its target, landing near the occupying regime’s top-secret military nuclear facility Dimona.
An Israeli military spokesman cited by Reuters said the projectile had come down in the early hours of Thursday in the Dimona area in the Negev desert inside the occupied territories, where the regime operates the hugely controversial installation.
The spokesman identified the missile as “an SA-5” -- a long-range projectile handled by Syria’s Russian S-200 missile systems.
The missile, however, “did not hit the reactor, landing some 30 kilometers (19 miles) away,” the agency cited the spokesman as saying.
According to the Israeli military, missile sirens went off in the area, and a Reuters correspondent, who was about 90 kilometers (56 miles) north of Dimona, reported hearing the sound of an explosion minutes before the military tweeted that the alarms had gone off.
Israeli and Western media outlets soon began to speculate about Iran’s possible involvement in the incident.
The Times of Israel noted how the missile incident came shortly after Iran warned that it will retaliate for an Israeli act of sabotage against its Natanz nuclear facility. Earlier this month, the incident cut the power across the facility but did not lead to any casualties and damages or any complications.
Soon after the Israeli operation, Iran began enriching uranium up to 60-percent in purity, with President Hassan Rouhani calling it a first retaliatory step. Iran’s Ambassador to international organizations Kazem Gharibabadi also warned that the occupying regime “will finally - and soon - realize that they must never threaten Iranians.”
According to Israeli media outlets, the regime has been reinforcing missile systems around the Dimona facility and the Red Sea port Eilat in the occupied territories in anticipation of a possible long-range missile or drone attack.
The Associated Press reported from the occupied holy city of Jerusalem al-Quds in a coverage that was also republished by The Washington Post that “the incident, marking the most serious violence between Israel and Syria in years, pointed to likely Iranian involvement.”
Iran, however, has not yet issued any reaction to the reports.
Iran maintains a military advisory presence in Syria, helping the Arab country against foreign-backed militancy and terrorism.
Syria and Israel are technically at war, due to Tel Aviv’s 1967-present occupation of the former’s Golan Heights.
AP also said “explosions were reported across” the occupied territories following the missile incident.
The Israeli regime is the sole owner of a military nuclear program and arsenal in the Middle East, with hundreds of nuclear warheads.
Dimona has for long been identified as the epicenter of the regime’s military nuclear program.
The regime has, however, always avoided scrutiny by the international organizations thanks to its own sheer resentment of accountability and protection by its arch-ally, the United States.
Tel Aviv has even been targeting nuclear activities across the region, including Iran’s peaceful nuclear energy program, on numerous occasions.
Last year too, Natanz was targeted in another terrorist move to blow up parts of the installation in an attack that Tel Aviv has been suspected of orchestrating.
Over the years, the regime has assassinated as many as seven Iranian nuclear scientists.
Israel’s Channel 12, however, carried a broadcast recently, warning that the regime was “nearing the point where Iran will be forced to respond” to its terrorist activities.
The London-based Middle East Monitor news website also interpreted the Dimona incident as a likely instance of retaliation on the part of the Islamic Republic. It likened the missile incident to an earlier incident involving an Israeli-owned vessel.
“[Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu, therefore, may have pushed Iran to retaliate, as it did when it targeted an Israeli-owned ship days after the Natanz incident,” the website wrote.
Tehran has not made any claims about the maritime incident that followed the sabotage at Natanz.
Syrian air defences intercept Israeli attack
Reporting on the aftermath of the Thursday missile incident, Reuters cited the Israeli military as saying that it in response to the launch, it had attacked several missile batteries in Syria, including the one that fired the projectile that fell near Dimona.
The official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), meanwhile, said Syrian air defenses intercepted the Israeli attack that targeted areas in the Damascus countryside.
"Air defenses intercepted the rockets and downed most of them," the agency said. However, four soldiers were injured in the attack and some material damage was caused, it added.