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Israel says 'successfully' tested ballistic missiles

Israel said it carried out two ballistic missile tests in recent weeks [Getty]

Date of publication: 3 June, 2020

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The state-run Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) confirmed the country had carried out two ballistic missiles tests in the Mediterranean.

Israel on Tuesday said it successfully tested two ballistic missiles in the Mediterranean in recent weeks, amid ongoing tensions with Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah.

The state-run Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) said the "complex trial... was held in the open sea" and involved two Long-Range Artillery Weapon Systems (LORA).

"The first scenario involved a short-range launch to 90 kilometres (55.8 miles) and the second to a long range of 400 kilometres (248 miles)," IAI said in a statement.

"Under both scenarios, the missile was launched to its trajectory, navigated its course to the target, and hit with utmost precision," the statement said.

It said the test was carried out at an unspecified date during the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Both the weapon system and the missile successfully met all of the trial's objectives," the statement added.

"In its ground version, the weapon system was deployed on a ship in the open sea to comply with the safety requirements of trials of this type," the IAI said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the news.

"In the midst of the war against coronavirus, we continue to guarantee Israel's security in both offensive and defensive means," the prime minister said.

The latest developments come amid continued tensions between Israel and bitter foe Iran, which have long been at loggerheads.

Netanyahu has repeatedly accused Iran of seeking to expand its presence in war-wracked neighbouring Syria to threaten Israel.

Iran and its ally the Lebanese Shia movement Hezbollah back the Syrian regime in the conflict that started in 2011.

Since then, Israel has launched hundreds of attacks in Syria, targeting government troops, allied Iranian forces and fighters from Hezbollah.

A 33-day summer war in 2006, between Israel and Lebanon's Hezbollah, killed more than 1,200 Lebanese, mostly civilians.

Over 160 Israelis - the majority soldiers - were also killed.

A ceasefire agreement was reached and a UN peacekeeping force (UNIFIL) was deployed along the demarcated 'Blue Line' between the countries.

On Tuesday, Israeli tanks crossed a technical fence that seperates Lebanon from Israel, the first such breach of the "Blue Line" since a UN-backed ceasefire was adopted after the 2006 war, a report said.

At least two Israeli Merkava tanks were spotted south of Lebanon's town of Adaisseh, where Lebanese Army soldiers engaged in a stand-off with the Israeli troops, Lebanese media outlet The Daily Star reported.

According to TDS, the tanks - which were carrying out military exercises - were not considered to have crossed into Lebanese territorry, but a demarcated no-mans-land between the two countries. 

"No shots are fired and no injuries are reported," Times of Israel wrote in a report.

The UN force has not yet issued a public statement on the alleged Israeli breach.

Israel considers Hezbollah which is represented in Lebanon's parliament and government, as a terrorist organisation.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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