The Syrian missile exploded in southern Israel, not far from the secretive Dimona nuclear reactor.
A senior US general said on Thursday that he believed a Syrian missile exploding in Israel overnight did not represent an intentional attack, but rather showed a lack of Syrian air defense capability.
“I think it reflects actually incompetence in Syrian air defense… I do not believe it was an intentional attack,” Marine General Kenneth McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, said during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.
The missile was fired from Syria towards southern Israel, where the Dimona nuclear reactor is located.
Sirens sounded in Abu Qrenat, a Bedouin village not far from the secretive nuclear site; the Israeli military responded by striking multiple defense batteries in Syria.
“They fired their missiles. The missiles went ballistic — literally — and followed a parabolic trajectory into Israel, where they were intercepted,” McKenzie added. “I do not believe it was an intentional attack but, just, rather, a lack of capability on the part of the Syrian air defenders.”
The assessment echoed that of Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who said the missile had landed in Israel as a result of errant Syrian anti-aircraft fire.
Reports of Israeli strikes against Iranian interest, including those in Syria, increased in recent months as the Biden administration attempts to get Iran back into compliance with the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Israel has said it will not tolerate Iranian presence in Syria.