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Syrian conflict

‘Electronic attack’: Syrian air defences shoot at phantom missiles after radar malfunction

Military commander attributed the malfunction to ‘a joint electronic attack’ by Israel and the United States targeting the Syrian radar system

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 April, 2018, 12:55pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 April, 2018, 9:03pm

Syrian state media on Tuesday retracted reports of overnight missile attacks, saying its air defences had been activated after a “false alarm”.

State TV earlier reported that anti-aircraft defences had shot down missiles fired at two military airbases in what it branded as an “aggression”.

The reports came just a few days after the United States, Britain and France conducted airstrikes targeting alleged chemical weapons facilities in Syria, in retaliation for a suspected chemical weapons attack that they blamed on the Syrian government.

A commander in the regional military alliance that backs the Syrian government attributed the malfunction to “a joint electronic attack” by Israel and the United States targeting the Syrian radar system.

The issue had been dealt with by Russian experts, the commander said.

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The Pentagon denied any American military activity in the area Tuesday.

Following reports of an Israeli strike, an Israeli military spokesman said: “I’m not aware of such an incident.”

The Syrian Central Media earlier said six missiles targeted the Shayrat air base in Homs, adding that Syrian air defences shot down most of them.

Previously, the same air base was hit by US Tomahawk missiles in April last year, in retaliation for a suspected chemical weapons attack in the country’s north that killed around 90 people.

According to the Pentagon, US intelligence had established that the base was the launchpad for the alleged chemical attack.

The Syrian outlet also reported another, separate airstrike on the Dumair air base, in a suburb of the capital, Damascus.

The airport is a major air base used in a large-scale military campaign waged by the Syrian army with Russian firepower that regained eastern Ghouta, a rebel enclave on the outskirts of Damascus.

Earlier this month, four Iranian military personnel were killed in an airstrike on Syria’s T4 air base, also in Homs.

Syria and its main allies Iran and Russia blamed Israel for that attack.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said after the US, British, and French strikes in Syria his country will continue “to move against Iran in Syria”.

Reuters, Associated Press, Agence France-Presse