UK paper: Dimona defenses on high alert

US-made Patriot anti-aircraft missiles reportedly moved to nuclear facility amid fears of Syrian strike.

dimona reactor 298.88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
dimona reactor 298.88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The defensive missile shield around Israel's nuclear facility at Dimona was placed on red alert 30 times last week out of concern over a possible Syrian air strike, the Sunday Times has reported. The British newspaper said that a battery of US-made Patriot anti-aircraft missiles had been moved to the Negev site following intelligence that Damascus may launch a raid in retaliation for the September 6 strike on a suspected nuclear installation in northern Syria. The Times quoted the deputy commander of the battery as saying: "We're ready to launch the missiles in seconds, once we're on full alert. "Every civilian aircraft en route from Cairo to Amman, or from Jeddah to Cairo and vice versa, which deviates even slightly from its route, sets off an alarm and risks a missile being fired." The newspaper quoted a defense source as saying: "The fact that the Syrians didn't launch an immediate strike against Israel doesn't mean that they won't retaliate in due course, Dimona is on the top of their list."