Syria Says Air Defenses Thwart Israeli Attack, Shoot Down Missiles

State news agency claims it shot down missiles and that Israel caused electronic interference in radar systems

An image grab from a video broadcast purportedly shows Syrian air defense systems intercepting Israeli missiles on May 10, 2018.
HANDOUT / STR / CENTRAL WAR MEDI

Syrian Air Defenses thwarted an Israeli attack on Tal al-Hara in southern Syria and shot down a number of missiles, Syrian state news agency SANA said early on Wednesday.

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Alleged Israeli strike in Syria

Located in Daraa Governorate, Tal al-Hara is considered as a strategic hill overlooking the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights.

The missile attack resulted only in damage and Israel then conducted an “electronic war” in which radars were subjected to interference, SANA added.

Hours after the incident, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a message saying that Israel responds "decisively and forcibly to any attack against us."

"In a systematic and consistent manner we are working to prevent our enemies from establishing attack bases against us nearby," he said during a state memorial ceremony.

Last week, Syrian state media said Israeli missiles were fired toward a Syrian military base in Homs, a day after Israel confirmed it had struck Syrian targets on Saturday in retaliation for rocket fire toward the Golan Heights.

Israeli intelligence assessments recently warned that Iran and the Lebanon-based militant group Hezbollah may initiate incidents that would lead to an escalation in the Golan Heights, as part of Tehran's efforts to combat U.S. sanctions and Israeli strikes against Iranian forces in Syria.

Last week, a U.S. official told Reuters that Washington believes Russia may be more amenable than in the past to addressing U.S. and Israeli concerns about Iran’s influence, including in Syria, when national security leaders meet in Jerusalem this month.

The United States announced last week that John Bolton, White House national security adviser, would meet his Israeli and Russian counterparts in Jerusalem in June. But it provided no details about the meeting, which comes at a moment of heightened tension between Washington and Tehran.

The senior Trump administration official, who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity, described the meeting as an “unprecedented diplomatic opportunity” for discussions on Syria - where all three countries have been involved militarily.

But beyond discussions to prevent any unintended military escalation, the U.S. official said the goal of the talks would be “to see how we can potentially work together to get rid of the primary irritant in the Middle East, which is the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

Associated Press contributed to this report.