Al Jazeera reports: Israel has test-fired a ballistic missile capable of reaching Iran, from the Palmachim base, Israeli radio says.
The test of a rocket propulsion system on Wednesday comes amid increased debate around the likelihood of an Israeli attack against Iran’s nuclear programme.
Speculation around the basis for the first missile test since 2008 was heightened after a newspaper commentator had suggested over the weekend that Benyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, and Ehud Barak, the defence minister, may have decided without cabinet approval to launch an attack against Iranian nuclear facilities.
A defence ministry statement said that the test-firing “had been planned by the defence establishment a long time ago and has been carried out as scheduled”.
Wednesday’s test-fire, the first in three years, was declared a success.
Though defence officials would not elaborate on the type of missile tested, the military affairs correspondent at Israel Radio, regularly briefed by officials, said a ballistic missile had been launched.
In an address at parliament’s opening session on Monday, Netanyahu repeated that a nuclear-armed Iranian state would prove a serious threat to Israel and the world.
Israel is believed to have a sizeable and the Middle East’s sole atomic arsenal, along with a technologically superior air force.
However, it lacks long-range bombers which could deliver lasting damage to Iran’s distant, dispersed and fortified facilities.