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Israel, US test missile defense system in Mediterranean

Updated: 2013-09-03 20:32
( Xinhua)

MOSCOW - Two ballistic missiles detected by the Russian airspace early warning system Tuesday were part of a joint US-Israeli test of missile defense system, an Israeli military official said.

"The launches were a test of the Ankor target missile that is used for testing our missile defense system," the RIA Novosti news agency quoted an unnamed Israeli Defense Ministry official as saying.

The launches took place at 10:16 Moscow time (0616 GMT) and was detected by radar located in the town of Armavir in southern Russia, said the Russian Defense Ministry.

An unnamed source told the Interfax news agency that the ballistic targets might have been the so-called ballistic dummies, or training targets for air defense crews.

"Destroyers of the US Sixth Fleet might have launched the so-called ballistic dummies or air defense training targets, in order to check readiness of the Syrian air defense systems and of the Russian early warning radar systems deployed in the Mediterranean," he said.

The possibility that false ballistic targets were launched "in order to intimidate the population of Syria and confuse the world community has not been ruled out," he added.

The Russian naval task force has been conducting rotation in the Mediterranean. 

Guard ship Neustrashimy and large assault landing ships Shabalin, Admiral Nevelsky and Peresvet would be replaced by large anti-boat ship Admiral Panteleyev and large assault landing ships Minsk and Novocherkassk. 

President Vladimir Putin was briefed on the launch by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.

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