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Massive explosion in Cyprus thought to be connected to Israeli airstrikes in Syria

Investigators are examining debris from a flying object that smashed into northern Cyprus; initial estimates point to a Russian missile.

People gather in the aftermath of a mysterious explosion in northern Cyprus that early theories state may be connected to Israeli airstrikes in Syria, July 1, 2019. Source: Screenshot.
People gather in the aftermath of a mysterious explosion in northern Cyprus that early theories state may be connected to Israeli airstrikes in Syria, July 1, 2019. Source: Screenshot.

The possibility of a misdirected Israeli or Syrian missile were among the numerous theories floated as to the cause of a loud explosion and large fire in Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus on Monday morning.

Initial reports indicate that the object was a Russian missile fired against Israeli attacks on Syria.

The mystery explosion was said to have rocked the Mediterranean island, reportedly occurring as Israel struck multiple targets in northern Syria.

Israel has not issued an official comment.

Kudret Özersay, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, posted on social media that “the first assessment is that a Russian-made missile, part of the air-defense system, which was part of the air-defense system that took place last night in the face of an [Israeli] air strike against Syria, completed its range and fell into our country after it missed.”

If so, this would not be the first Syrian air-defense missile to go astray.

In September, a Russian military aircraft was struck down during Israeli strikes on Iranian targets, killing 15 servicemen. The plane was shot by Syrian surface-to-air missiles.

Israel adamantly denied responsibility for the incident, but Russia blamed Israel nonetheless, leading to a brief cooling in diplomatic relations and the transfer by Russia to Syria of advanced S-300 air-defense systems.

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