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Israel Announces Joint Missile Test with U.S. in the Mediterranean
On Tuesday, Russia’s Defense Ministry warned of ballistic “objects” in the space over the Mediterranean, and later Israel claimed that it had conducted a missile test with the U.S. in the central Mediterranean. Initially there was quite a bit of confusion and speculation about missile strikes on Syria, however the confusion was quickly cleared up by Israel.
Israel’s Defense Ministry issued a statement saying that it was testing the “new version of the Sparrow target missile” and that the test was successful. The Sparrow is an anti-missile system developed by an Israeli firm in collaboration with Boeing.
However, with continuing tensions over Syria, the Russian media criticized the move and Igor Korotchenko, the editor-in-chief of the National Defense Journal of Russia said it was irresponsible to conduct such tests in the region at the moment.
Korotchenko said in an interview with The Times, “Israel and the United States should have thought better of the grave risks of such tests at this critical time in this region before launching those missiles …”
However, the extent of U.S. involvement remains unknown.
Navy Commander William Speaks, a Pentagon spokesman, told the Associated Press that he knew nothing about the tests, reported USA Today.
However, a former high ranking executive of the military intelligence wing of Israel’s Defense Force speculated that the test might have been conducted to send a signal to the Syrians. Moredechai Kedar, the former Israeli intelligence official said that he had no doubt it was a “warning shot,” because there was substantial military and intelligence cooperation between US and Israel, especially at the moment.
The Russian Embassy in Syria confirmed that there had been no missile attacks on the country, and the stare-run Interfax news agency claimed the ballistic objects had fallen into the sea.
While for Israel the test was successful, for Russia it proved the accuracy of their detection systems, and for Syria maybe it was a warning of what it could expect.