The IDF decided to allow the Syrian missile which exploded in the South to traverse most of the country, calculating from its trajectory that it did not need to be shot down earlier, sources said on Sunday.
According to the sources, there was no error in Israel’s air defense systems and so there will be no probe into why the missile was allowed to travel over 180 km (111 miles) from the closest border with Syria and over 400 km (240 miles) from Homs.
This is in contrast to a couple of recent incidents with Gaza where investigations were opened when certain rockets were not properly evaluated by Israel’s various air defenses.
The IDF’s Iron Dome (short to medium range), David’s Sling (medium range) and Arrow 3 (long range) missile defenses have the capability to calculate a rocket’s trajectory and to refrain from wasting an interceptor on a rocket which will land harmlessly in an unoccupied area.
The missile was judged to not pose any danger
These trajectory capabilities were likely engaged regarding the Syrian missile, judging it as non-dangerous, according to sources – though in the end, where the rocket exploded seems to have carried some danger.
It is also still unclear how or why the rocket exploded midair close to the South, and whether this was some malfunction by the rocket or whether Israel used some kind of other classified capability to cause it to explode midair and away from civilians.
The entire episode started, it appears, when the IDF was allegedly using airstrikes against Iranian-associated in the Homs Governorate in central Syria as part of its ongoing MABAM (war between wars.)
Syria’s S-200 anti-aircraft missile system kicked in and attempted to shoot down the alleged Israeli missiles and aircraft.
In response to the Syrian missile, the IDF struck a Syrian air defense battery and additional relevant targets in the area.
No special directives were issued for the home front and no rocket sirens were activated by the missile. Shrapnel from the missile landed in Rahat in southern Israel.
Syrian state media reported on Saturday night that Syrian air defenses were activated in the Homs Governorate in response to alleged Israeli airstrikes in the area. The Syrian state news agency SANA reported that no injuries were caused in the strikes.
Israel's strikes come two weeks after the last reported airstrikes in Syria
The last alleged Israeli airstrike to target sites in Syria was reported on June 14, when a Syrian soldier was seriously injured in strikes targeting Damascus, according to the Syrian state news agency SANA.
The Capital Voice news site reported at the time that explosions were heard in the area of the headquarters of the Syrian Army's 1st Division in al-Kiswah, south of Damascus, which is used by Iranian and Iran-backed forces as well. A fire broke out at the headquarters amid the strikes, according to the report.
Syrian air defense missiles have overshot and flown into Israeli airspace in the past.
In February 2022, rocket sirens sounded in and near Umm el-Fahm in northern Israel, after an anti-aircraft missile fired from Syria exploded mid-air.
In September 2021, a Syrian surface-to-air missile (SAM) was launched toward Israel and detonated over the Mediterranean Sea. Some of the shrapnel from the missile was found later in northern Tel Aviv.
Tzvi Joffre contributed to this report.