Via Yahoo Finance

A suspected Russian-made missile has landed in Northern Cyprus, exploding in the air above a series of villages, according to officials.

It is thought the missile may be part of an air defence system fired from Syria in response to an air attack by Israel.

Turkish Cypriot foreign minister Kudret Ozersay said early analysis suggested it could a Russian-made S-200 anti aircraft missile after debris from the object came down on a mountainside north of the capital North Nicosia overnight.

Mr Ozersay said in a Facebook post: “The first assessment is that a Russian-made missile, part of the air defence system, which was part of the air defence system that took place last night in the face of an airstrike against Syria, completed its range and fell into our country after it missed.

“The explosion is thought to be before the impact, because there were no holes in the ground. The pieces that fell to several different points prove that the missile exploded in the air before it crashed.”

AP reported that Israeli airstrikes were taking place against targets in Syria around 120 miles (200km) away at the time of the blast.

Reuters said Syrian military positions in Homs and the Damascus outskirts came under attack overnight, with at least four civilians said to have been killed and another 21 wounded.

If confirmed, it would be the first time the island of Cyprus has been caught up in the crossfire of the Syrian war.

Debris from the object landed near the village of Tashkent, also known as Vouno, about 7 miles (12km) northeast of Nicosia, but there were reports that other fragments had landed in Esentepe and Gornec, nearly 18 miles (30km) from Nicosia.

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It resulted in a bang that could be heard for miles around and set the hillside on fire.

Images displayed on media websites showed several blazes over a wide area.

Some debris came down in the gardens of homes, according to Northern Cyprus newspaper Kibris.

The UK has a military bases in the southern part of the island, at Akrotiri and Dhekelia – the latter about 35 miles (55km) from the main blast site .

Earlier, Ersin Tatar, the prime minister of the north of the divided island, said that no one was hurt in the explosion, which occurred about 1am local time.

Greek Cypriot analyst Andreas Pentaras said images from the scene also suggested it was a Russian-made S-200 missile.

S-200s are reported to have also fallen on Jordan and Israel after being fired at Israeli war planes during air strikes on Syria in the last few years.

Janes Defence Weekly said in 2016 Russia had confirmed it had restored Syria’s S-200 capability, with at least four batteries operational.

Northern Cyprus, which is only recognised by Turkey, is partitioned from the ethnically Greek and internationally recognised country of Cyprus.

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