Israel’s Defence Forces announced on Thursday that they had attacked missile batteries in Syria in response to the launch of a Syrian surface-to-air missile that landed near the Shimon Peres Negev Nuclear Research Centre – suspected birthplace of Israel’s first nuclear bomb. The launch took place right after a separate Israeli attack on Syria.
The IDF has launched a formal probe into why its air defences – often touted as being among the best in the world – failed to intercept the rogue Syrian anti-aircraft missile that entered Israeli airspace and exploded in mid-air, spewing debris across a wide area about 40 km from Israel’s highly sensitive nuclear site.
Gantz appeared surprised at the failure to bring the legacy missile down, saying that “normally we see different outcomes.”
The “SA-5” is the NATO reporting name for the S-200, a Soviet-designed air and missile defence system first introduced into service with the Soviet military in the late 1960s, and exported to Syria in the early 1980s following skirmishes between Syria and israel over southern Lebanon – which Israeli forces were illegally occupying at the time. Syria is known to have eight regiments of extended range S-200VEs, with the missiles having an operational range of about 300 km and a 200 kg warhead.
Syrian officials and media have not commented on the alleged S-200 launch in Israel’s direction. The S-200 and its S-300 and S-400 successors are technically capable of being used against…