In First, Israel's Iron Dome Intercepts Rockets Fired From Syria

No damage was caused, the IDF says; shortly after the missile defense system was activated, it became clear the rockets would have exploded on Syrian territory if not intercepted.

Soldiers operating Iron Dome system, Ashdod, November 2012.
Moti Milrod

The Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted two rockets above the Golan Heights on Saturday afternoon, the first succesful interception on the Syrian border.

No one was hurt and no damage caused in the incident, the Israeli military said. The rockets, fired by Syrian rebels, were first believed to be Israel-bound. But shortly after Iron Dome was activated, it became clear that the rockets would have exploded on Syrian territory if not intercepted, the IDF said. 

This was the first time an Iron Dome battery successfully intercepted a rocket from Syria. In June 2014, a battery was activated on the border, but failed to shoot down a mortar shell that exploded in Israeli territory.

The Iron Dome protects against short-range rockets, and intercepted hundreds of projectiles fired by Palestinians militants during the 2014 Gaza war.

Saturday's incident follows two apparent spillovers from the fighting across the border this week, when Syrian mortar shells hit the Israeli Golan Heights on Tuesday and on Monday. The mortar fire was followed by Israel Air Force strikes on Syrian military targets.

Also on Tuesday, the Syrian army claimed to have shot down two Israeli aircraft over the Golan Heights. Israel has denied any of its aircraft was downed.

Israeli and UN troops examining the site of a rocket explosion the Golan Heights, September 2016.
Jalaa Marey, AFP