JERUSALEM (AFP) – According to the military, Israel initiated attacks against Syrian sites on Wednesday, targeting anti-aircraft batteries in retaliation to a missile fired from Syria.

Following the Syrian missile launch, sirens were heard in the northern Israeli Arab city of Umm Al-Fahm, but the missile detonated in mid-air, according to a tweet from the Israel Defense Forces.

“In reaction to the anti-aircraft missile launched from Syria earlier tonight,” the military stated. “We just targeted surface-to-air missile targets in Syria, including radar and anti-aircraft batteries.”

Syrian state television said that the country’s air defences had been activated in response to Israeli firing “near Damascus.”

According to the media, Israeli aerial assaults began soon before 1:00 a.m., followed by surface-to-surface missile strikes “from the direction of the occupied Golan” around 1:10 a.m.

“Our aircraft defences engaged the enemy’s missiles and shot down several of them,” the Syrian official agency SANA said.

According to SANA, one soldier was killed and five others were injured, “along with material damage.”

Israel seldom remarks on its air assaults in Syria, but it has frequently stated that it will not allow its arch adversary Iran to expand its influence in the nation.

Syria’s foreign ministry criticised the “cowardly” Israeli strikes in a statement on Wednesday, claiming they killed and injured numerous Syrian soldiers but did not specify how many.

“The Syrian government has the right to use all lawful methods of retaliation,” according to a statement broadcast by SANA. It warned Israel and its supporters that they will be held accountable for the “dangerous implications” of the strike.

Since the outbreak of civil war in Syria in 2011, Israel has carried out hundreds of air strikes on Syrian territory, targeting government positions as well as allied Iran-backed forces and Hezbollah fighters.

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