Panic erupted throughout Israel this Thursday morning as a massive explosion was reported near Dimona City, which is where Israel’s nuclear site is located. This was then followed by reported Israeli strikes in the vicinity of Damascus, Syria.
The initial incident was reported throughout Israeli media, at around 1:30AM local times, as people claimed to have heard a large explosion from Tel Aviv and beyond. Reports then began to emerge speculating that due to sirens having been triggered around the Dimona area, in the Negev region, that a rocket had been fired from Gaza at Israel’s nuclear facility. These reports were then quickly debunked, as Hebrew media quoted the Israeli military as stating that no such rocket fire had come from the besieged coastal enclave.
Later reports began to emerge of a potential missile strike having come from Syria, with Israeli forces allegedly being mobilized. Reports later confirmed that Patriot Missile air defense systems had been triggered in order to defend from a missile attack.
I spoke to a local Palestinian photographer/journalist, Hamde Abu Rahmah, who described events from his home West of Ramallah. Hamde described the attack as having shook his home:
“This explosion was bigger than anything I felt from any of Israel’s attacks on Gaza and much louder.”
He noted that he only saw air defense missiles being fired after the explosion had occurred and was reporting that Israeli media seemed to be hiding the facts at that point.
The Israeli military later issued a statement in which they claimed that a Syrian surface-to-surface missile had pursued one of its fighter jets and landed in an open area near Dimona. An Israeli Military Spokeswoman later said that the nuclear site was not struck. The IDF’s twitter handle had explained that Israel then bombed the Syrian battery from which the missile had come.
Syria’s SANA reported that as a result of Israeli airstrikes on the Dameer area, in the Western countryside of Damascus, 4 of its soldiers had been injured and material damage had been reported.
All the facts are not as of this moment clear, however, by Israel’s account its own offensive action against Syria resulted in the missile falling near Dimona. This would have meant that Israel was the aggressor, and not Syria.