Residents from across the country reported hearing “loud explosions”
A picture released by Israeli Defence Forces press office shows a launch of a Patriot missile in southern Israel
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Alarms sounded in Abu Qrenat near Dimona in southern Israel early Thursday morning, the IDF‘s Spokesperson’s Unit reported.
Reports from across the country, including central Israel and Jerusalem, indicated “loud explosions” that “shook the houses.”
Early reports indicated the explosion being the result of a patriot battery responding to a missile launched toward Israel. The IDF later confirmed the reports.
“Due to a surface to air missile entering Israeli territory, air defense systems were activated,” a statement by the IDF read, noting that the IDF was still investigating the incident.
The patriot was reportedly launched from near the city of Dimona.
It was unclear at first where the missile was launched from. Several indications pointed to the missile being launched from Iraq, while according to other reports, it came from the city of Daraa in southern Syria following an Israeli airstrike.
Brig.Gen. Hidai Zilberman later told reporters that the explosion was due to the firing of an SA-5 surface to air missile that was fired towards Israel from Syria and that it exploded in the southern Negev.
The firing of the missile came during Israeli air strikes in southern Syria. The missile was not directed towards any target, Zilberman said.
According to the spokesman, Israel responded to the firing of the SA-5 towards IAF jets by striking several anti aircraft batteries in Syria, including the one which fired the missile that exploded in southern Israel.