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Israeli strikes said to target Syria; fragments from defense fire land in Israel

Errant Syrian air defense missile explodes over waters off coast of central Israel, fragments found in north Tel Aviv; no injuries or damage reported

Illustrative: In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows missiles flying into the sky near international airport, in Damascus, Syria on Jan. 21, 2019. (SANA via AP)
Illustrative: In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows missiles flying into the sky near international airport, in Damascus, Syria on Jan. 21, 2019. (SANA via AP)

Israeli planes carried out airstrikes near Damascus early Friday, Syrian state media claimed, and sounds of explosions were heard in central Israel shortly after.

The noise was caused by a Syrian air defense missile that traversed Israeli skies before exploding over the Mediterranean Sea, the Israel Defense Forces said. Missile fragments were later found in north Tel Aviv.

Incoming rocket warning sirens were not sounded, in keeping with the military’s policy of not triggering alarms for projectiles headed toward unpopulated areas.

There were no reports of injuries or damage in Israel.

“This morning, residents of central [Israel] found a number of missile fragments on the ground. The fragments were collected by the Israel Police. We thank the residents for their conscientiousness, and we ask them to not touch these fragments,” the military said in a statement.

Syria reported that missiles fired from the direction of Lebanon targeted Damascus, but claimed most were shot down by its air defenses.

A short time later, residents near Tel Aviv reported hearing at least one blast — the sound of the surface-to-air missile exploding over the sea.

Syrian air defense missiles have in the past accidentally shot down a Russian military plane and have also reached Cyprus in error.

The IDF did not comment on the alleged strikes in Syria, as per its policy.

Video published by SANA purported to show an air defense missile being fired into the air. A blast could be heard shortly after.

The Britain-based Observatory for Human Rights reported that weapons development centers near Damascus used by Iran-backed militias had been targeted in the alleged Israeli strikes.

On August 19, Syria reported alleged Israeli airstrikes from the direction of Beirut.

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