Mediterranean missile launches were ‘American-Israeli drill’

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Missiles launched in the Mediterranean Sea that were detected by Russia on Tuesday were part of a joint American-Israeli military exercise, Israel's media said.

The reports said Ankor-type missiles was directed from bases in the Mediterranean and in the centre of Israel.

"The Israeli defence ministry and the American MDA (Missile Defence Agency) Tuesday morning at 9:15 (0615 GMT) successfully launched an Ankor-type radar missile," it said in a statement.

"The test was launched from the Mediterranean and directed from an army base in the centre of Israel," it said.

The statement mentioned only one missile.

Moscow's defence ministry, as cited by Russian news agencies, said its early warning system had detected the launch of two ballistic missiles from the central part of the Mediterranean fired towards the Sea's eastern coastline on Tuesday morning.

Israel's army said it was "not familiar" with any missiles being fired in the Mediterranean.

The Russian embassy in Syria has said there were no signs of a missile attack or explosions in Damascus on Tuesday.

The launches are alleged to have taken place at 10:16 am Moscow time (0616 GMT) and were apparently detected by the early warning system in Armavir in southern Russia.

Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu reported to President Vladimir Putin about the event, which comes amid growing expectations of Western military action in Syria.

Israel said earlier on Tuesday it was unaware of any ballistic missile launch being conducted in the eastern Mediterranean.

We are not aware, at this time, of such an event having occurred," a military spokeswoman in Jerusalem said after a Russian news agency reported the launch of two ballistic “objects” from the central part of the sea eastward.

According to a Syrian security source Syria's early warning radar system did not detect any missiles landing on Syrian territory quoted Lebanon's al-Manar television on Tuesday.

The U.S. was criticized earlier for deploying warships in the Mediterranean Sea, close to Syria.

(With Reuters and AFP)

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