Syria Fighting Near Israel Border Triggers Missile Defense Systems

Fighting within Syria triggered Israeli missile defense systems on Monday morning in the Upper Galilee and the Golan Heights. 

The Israeli army said sirens went off as a result of projectiles fired near the border. Two missiles were launched by Israel’s David’s Sling defense system, the army said, adding that the Syrian rockets did not reach Israeli territory.

>> Israel’s new missile defense system is a clear message to Iran, but it isn’t perfect | Analysis >>

Earlier, residents reported hearing anti-aircraft batteries being activited, saying a trail of smoke was seen in the sky, shortly after sirens went off in the city of Safed and in areas near Mt. Hermon. Later, more sirens sounded in Katzrin and in a regional council in the Golan Heights.

This is the first operational use of the David’s Sling missile defense system, also known as Magic Wand. The system, which the military declared operational last year, was developed by Israel’s government-owned Rafael Advanced Defense Systems in cooperation with the U.S. defense contractor Raytheon, and is designed to intercept medium-range missiles. It is an additional layer of defense against short- and medium-range missiles and rockets, in addition to Iron Dome and Patriot and Arrow missiles. It can also intercept unmanned aerial vehicles from afar.

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In recent days the Syrian regime has expanded its operation to retake control of the Syrian side of the Golan Heights, and a large part of the local rebel militias have surrendered.

Aided by the Russian air force, the Assad regime’s is now focused on the Israel-Joran-Syria border triangle in the southern Golan Heights, where the regime seeks to quash some 1,000 fighters of a local ISIS branch.

Magic Wand antimissile system being tested on January 25, 2017Defense Ministry