Syria said it repulsed a missile salvo on Sunday from Israel, where police said debris from a Syrian anti-aircraft missile hit a remote town without causing any injuries.
In recent months, Israel has intensified attacks on Syrian airports and airbases to disrupt Iran’s increasing use of supply airlines to deliver weapons to allies in Syria and Lebanon, including Lebanon’s Hezbollah.
Syrian state media said air defenses intercepted Israeli missiles in central parts of the country, shooting down most of them. A Syrian army statement said missiles that flew over parts of the Lebanese capital Beirut hit places in the vicinity of the city of Homs, causing only material damage.
Reuters could not immediately confirm the report.
An Israeli military spokesman said the fighter jets struck targets, including a Syrian air defense battery from which an anti-aircraft missile was launched towards Israel.
After an airborne explosion was heard across Israel, remnants of the Syrian missile fell on Rahat, a town about 180 km (110 miles) south of the armistice line between the countries, Israeli police said. There were no news of victims.
Local media showed what appeared to be the blackened front end of a large missile, standing in an open area between residential buildings, and the tail fins in a field.
The Israeli army said its fighter jets were unharmed.
The Israeli strikes are part of an escalation in what has been a low-intensity conflict that has been going on for years aimed at curbing Iran’s growing entrenchment in Syria, Israeli military experts say.
Tehran’s influence has grown in Syria since it began supporting President Bashar al-Assad in the civil war that began in 2011.
Iran’s allied fighters, including Hezbollah, now dominate areas in eastern, southern and northwestern Syria and in several suburbs around the capital.