An anti-aircraft missile launched from Syria into Israel late Tuesday exploded in the air, the Israeli military said, triggering a rare Israeli counter-strike on Syrian army targets in the Damascus area, killing one soldier.
The Syrian missile, according to Syria's official news agency SANA, was fired in response to an Israeli airstrike. It wasn't clear what was targeted in the first strike, which Israel has not confirmed.
According to the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Israel carried out two rounds of strikes in the area. The first, it reported, was an attack carried out by fighter jets over Lebanon, which was followed by the Syrian anti-aircraft missile. The second round of strikes followed the Syrian launch.
Rocket warning sirens sounded in the northern Umm al-Fahm area and in the northern West Bank, the Israeli military said.
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The siren alert in Israel came at about the same time that Syrian state television said that Syrian air defenses had confronted "hostile targets" over Damascus.
In response to the anti-aircraft missile, Israeli military forces struck Syrian radar facility and anti-aircraft batteries, including, according to the Israel Defense Forces' spokesman, the one that launched missiles at Israeli planes.
SANA, quoting a Syrian military source, said the attack was carried out with surface-to-surface missiles from the Golan Heights.
The spokesman added that there was no need to intercept the Syrian missile, apparently as it did not threaten Israeli forces or civilians. The statement emphasized that the military would "continue to protect the skies of the State of Israel and their security."
One Syrian soldier was killed and five others were wounded in the Israeli attack, SANA reported.
Last week, Syria's official news agency reported that the Israeli Air Force had fired a barrage of missiles into the Damascus area, and that air defense systems had intercepted some of the missiles.
Israel has mounted frequent attacks against what it says are Iranian targets in Syria, where Tehran-backed forces led by Lebanon's Hezbollah have supported President Bashar al-Assad over the past decade in Syria's civil war.
Reuters contributed to this report.