A Lebanese news network affiliated with the Hezbollah terror group claimed Israel fired Jericho 1 surface-to-surface missiles to strike a military target in Syria on Friday night, and that one of the missiles was downed by Russian air defense systems.
Al-Mayadeen television, citing unnamed Russian sources, said Israel launched two missiles in the attack. One was reportedly downed by a Russian Pantsir-S1, which had been deployed to neutralize any possible threats to Russian forces operating throughout Syria.
Israel has not commented on the alleged strike in Syria, which multiple Arab media outlets have claimed targeted an Iranian military base near the Syrian city of al-Qiswa, southwest of Damascus.
Some media outlets affiliated with the Assad regime and Hezbollah initially reported that Israeli warplanes targeted an ammunition bunker belonging to the Syrian army. But other media outlets, widely quoted in Hebrew media on Saturday evening, reported that the target was a military base that Iran is building in the area, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) from the Israeli border, and that loud explosions were heard after the attack.
Some reports said Israel fired five missiles. Syrian state media said its air defenses intercepted at least two Israeli missiles fired at a government “military position” in Damascus province, but that the attack still caused damage.
According to reports on Lebanon’s Al-Mustaqbal TV and the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya network, accounts on the Telegram messaging app tied to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps have reported 12 Iranian fatalities in the strike.
There has been no official confirmation of fatalities by either Syrian or Iranian authorities.
Israel has long warned that Iran is trying to establish a permanent presence in Syria as part of its efforts to control a land corridor from Iran through to the Mediterranean Sea as it attempts to expand its influence across the Middle East.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said often that Israel will not allow Iran to establish a permanent presence in Syria, and was reported last week to have sent a warning to this effect via a third party to Syrian President Bashar Assad.