Israel, US test-fire Arrow 3 missile, declare trial a success

Posted January 22, 2019 by josephwouk
Categories: Uncategorized

Source: Israel, US test-fire Arrow 3 missile, declare trial a success | The Times of Israel

Calling test a ‘milestone’ in development of Israel’s self-defense, ministry says interceptor locked onto incoming dummy missile, fully destroyed it

An Israeli-American Arrow 3 test as seen from Jerusalem on the morning of January 22, 2019 (Elie Leshem/Times of Israel)

Israel and the United States carried out a successful test of their advanced Arrow 3 missile defense system early Tuesday morning, the Defense Ministry said.

Shortly before 6:45 a.m., a dummy missile was launched off the coast of Israel that was meant to simulate the type of long-range ballistic missile the Arrow 3 system is designed to intercept.

“Following the launch, the Arrow’s radar spotted the target on its radar array and transferred the data to its fire management center, which analyzed it and fully planned the interception. Once the planning was completed, an Arrow 3 interceptor was fired at the target, which completed its mission with complete success,” the ministry said in a statement.

The test was conducted by the Defense Ministry’s Missile Defense Organization and the US Missile Defense Agency, with assistance from the Israeli Air Force and Israeli Aerospace Industries, which manufactures the Arrow 3.

“This successful test provides confidence in Israel’s capability to protect itself from existing threats in the region.” said MDA director Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves. “My congratulations to the Israel Missile Defense Organization, the Israeli Air Force, our MDA team, and our industry partners. We are committed to assisting the government of Israel in upgrading its national missile defense capability against emerging threats.”

The Arrow 3 system, a more advanced model of the Arrow and Arrow 2 models, was declared operational in January 2017. The air defense system, developed as a joint project with the US, is designed to shoot down ballistic missiles — like those Israel fears Iran may one day launch at it — while the incoming projectile is still outside the earth’s atmosphere.

“The success of this test presents an important milestone in the operational capabilities of the State of Israel in defending itself against current and future existential threats,” the Defense Ministry said.

The Arrow was launched from the Palmachim air base in central Israel and the trail it left behind was visible from as far away as Jerusalem, owing to the clear morning.

Complemented by a number of other missile defense systems designed to protect Israel from short-, medium- and long-range attacks, the Arrow 3 system represents the highest level of Israel’s multi-tiered missile defense network.

The Arrow 3 was last tested, successfully, in July as part of a broad missile defense exercise that also checked the abilities of the short-range Iron Dome and medium-range David’s Sling.

Before that, the system was successfully tested in February 2018, after months of delays and technical problems. In January, an exercise was called off because of a data transfer problem and in December a test was canceled over safety concerns.

Tuesday’s trial came two days after Israel’s air defense systems were put the test in shooting down a missile fired from Syria at the Israeli Golan Heights. An Iron Dome battery intercepted the incoming projectile, which the Israeli military said was launched by Iranian forces in Syria, apparently in retaliation for a rare daytime strike attributed to Israel on weapons depots in and around Damascus.

Israel responded to the missile attack on the Golan by pounding both Iranian military targets in Syria and the Syrian air defense systems that fired on the attacking Israeli jets on Monday.

Israel has accused Iran of seeking to establish a military presence in Syria that could threaten Israeli security and attempting to transfer advanced weaponry to the Hezbollah terror group in Lebanon.

 

Iranian security official: We’ll remain in Syria as long as we’re asked to

Posted January 22, 2019 by josephwouk
Categories: Uncategorized

Source: Iranian security official: We’ll remain in Syria as long as we’re asked to | The Times of Israel

Member of Tehran’s Supreme National Security Council says his country’s involvement comes at request of Damascus, is aimed at saving innocent lives

Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani in Tehran, Iran, January 17, 2017.  (Ebrahim Noroozi/AP)

Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani in Tehran, Iran, January 17, 2017. (Ebrahim Noroozi/AP)

A senior Iranian official said that his country’s military will continue to be involved in Syria as long as the Damascus regime wants its help, the Mehr news agency reported Tuesday.

Ali Shamkhani, a member of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, made the remarks in an interview published a day earlier by a Tehran-based international relations magazine.

His comments came the same day Israel carried out a series of airstrikes on Iranian military sites in Syria, as well as Syrian air defense units, in response to a rocket fired from Syria at the Israeli Golan Heights, allegedly by Iranian forces. The clash followed a rare daytime strike attributed to Israel on weapons depots in and around Damascus on Sunday.

Israel has accused Iran of seeking to establish a military presence in Syria that could threaten Israeli security and attempting to transfer advanced weaponry to the Hezbollah terror group in Lebanon. Jerusalem has vowed to prevent Iran’s military entrenchment in Syria and has sought help from the US and Russia in getting the Iranians to pull their military out of the country. Russia, along with Iran and its military proxies, are fighting on behalf of the Damascus regime in the country’s civil war, now in its eighth year.

Shamkhani said that as long as the Syrian and Iraqi governments continue to ask for Iran’s help in defeating “terror,” it will provide assistance. The Syrian regime and its allies refer to opposition forces as terrorists.

Instead of “exporting terrorism to Syria” and imposing their own ideas, Western countries should let the Syrian people speak for themselves, he said.

He also criticized US hostility toward Iran’s involvement in the two countries, saying that Tehran was there to defeat the Islamic State terror group and prevent the killing of innocent people.

Shamkhani lamented that while the US condemns Iranian involvement in Syria, it remains silent about Yemen, where airstrikes by a Saudi Arabian-led coalition have reportedly killed thousands of civilians during attacks on Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

Israel responded to Monday’s missile attack on the Golan by pounding both Iranian military targets in Syria and the Syrian air defense systems that fired on its jets.

Amid fears of escalation, Iran’s air force chief said in the hours that followed that his country was “impatient” to eliminate Israel in a war.

In the weeks since US President Donald Trump’s abrupt announcement in December that he will pull US ground forces out of Syria, Israel has become more open in admitting that it carries out raids on Iranian assets in the country, which, it says, destroyed thousands of targets in the last few years.

 

Monitor: 21 died in Israeli strikes in Syria Monday, 12 of them Iranian fighters 

Posted January 22, 2019 by josephwouk
Categories: Uncategorized

Source: Monitor: 21 died in Israeli strikes in Syria Monday, 12 of them Iranian fighters | The Times of Israel

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says 6 Syrian soldiers, 3 more foreign nationals among those killed in retaliatory raids after missile attack from Syria on Golan Heights

An explosion, reportedly during Israeli airstrikes near Damascus, Syria, on January 21, 2019. (screen capture: YouTube)

An explosion, reportedly during Israeli airstrikes near Damascus, Syria, on January 21, 2019. (screen capture: YouTube)

Twenty-one people were killed in Israeli retaliatory airstrikes in Syria early on Monday, 12 of them members of the Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, a Britain-based Syrian war monitor said Tuesday.

On Sunday, Israel reportedly conducted a rare daylight missile attack on Iranian targets in Syria. In response, Iran fired a surface-to-surface missile at the northern Golan Heights, which was intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system over the Hermon ski resort, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

Hours later, in the predawn hours of Monday morning, the Israeli Air Force launched retaliatory strikes on Iranian targets near Damascus and on the Syrian air defense batteries that fired upon the attacking Israeli fighter jets, the army said.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights initially reported the death toll from the Israeli strikes to be 11. But on Tuesday, the war monitor said the number had risen to 21, making it one of the deadliest attacks by Israel in Syria.

According to SOHR, 12 of those killed were members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps; six were Syrian military fighters; and the other three were other non-Syrian nationals.

A Syrian mobile anti-aircraft battery vehicle as seen through the targeting camera of an incoming Israeli missile, in footage released by the IDF of its early morning strikes in Syria on January 21, 2019. (IDF)

In July 2018, 22 people, nine of them Iranians, were said to have been killed in an airstrike attributed to Israel on an Iranian-controlled base in northern Syria.

In May 2018, in an air battle sparked by Iran launching dozens of rockets at the Golan, at least 23 fighters were killed in Syria. Eighteen of them were said to be foreigners, though it was not immediately clear how many were Iranians and how many were non-Syrian nationals from elsewhere in the Muslim world fighting in Shiite militias.

Escalating attacks

The IDF said Monday that Iranian troops in Syria launched their missile at the Golan in a “premeditated” attack aimed at deterring Israel from conducting airstrikes against the Islamic Republic’s troops and proxies in Syria.

Israeli troops on Monday were put on high alert in the north.

Trails left by the Iron Dome air defense system intercepting a Syrian projectile over Mount Hermon in the Golan Heights, on January 20, 2019. (Israel Defense Forces)

Military spokesperson Jonathan Conricus said the three response sorties destroyed a number of Iranian intelligence sites, training bases and weapons caches connected to the Quds Force, the expeditionary arm of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

According to Conricus, one of the targets of the raids was “the main storage hub for Quds Force.”

On Monday morning, the IDF also released video footage of its airstrikes on Syrian air defenses, including on social media.

Embedded video

צבא ההגנה לישראל

@idfonline

תיעוד מתוך תקיפת חלק מסוללות ההגנה האווירית הסוריות לאחר שביצעו ירי הלילה:

According to Conricus, the Iranian retaliatory strike aimed at the northern Golan was “not a spur-of-the-moment” response, but had been planned months in advance, based on intelligence collected by the IDF.

“We understand that the Iranians are trying to change the context and deter us from our policy and our strategy of fighting Iranian troops in Syria,” Conricus said. “They thought they could change the rules of engagement. Our response was a rather clear one, with a message to Iran and Syria that our policies have not changed.”

He acknowledged that while the military believed it was planned in advance, the trigger for Sunday’s attack was likely the airstrikes reported moments before.

The spokesman said Iran was directly responsible for the launch, and disputed reports that the projectile had been fired by pro-Iranian militias or by the Syrian regime.

Conricus said the location from which the missile was fired was “an area that we have been promised that the Iranians would not be in.”

That assurance appeared to have been made by Russia — Syrian dictator Bashar Assad’s prime ally in the civil war — but Conricus said he “won’t go into who made the promise.”

Israel has reached a number of understandings with Russia about the permitted location of Iranian troops in Syria, mostly about their deployment along the Golan border with Syria.

The IDF spokesperson said the military ultimately holds Syria responsible for the attack and warned that the country would “pay the price” for allowing Iran to establish a permanent military presence in its territory. Iran officially denies having troops in Syria beyond a small number of advisers — a claim that is widely disregarded among Western intelligence officials.

IDF: Iran’s Al Qods aimed the Fateh-110 missile at Golan, which Iron Dome intercepted – DEBKAfile

Posted January 22, 2019 by josephwouk
Categories: Uncategorized

Source: IDF: Iran’s Al Qods aimed the Fateh-110 missile at Golan, which Iron Dome intercepted – DEBKAfile

The ground-to-ground missile aimed at the Golan on Sunday, Jan. 20 was fired by Al Qods and made in Iran, the IDF spokesman said Monday. DEBKAfile: It was a Fateh-110 missile that was launched from a point in the Damascus region which Russia had promised would be kept out of bounds to the Iranians.

The missile was intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system. It may be recalled that last year, Russian officials, including Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, affirmed that the Iranians had withdrawn deep inside Syrian territory, more than 80km from the Israeli border.

IDF army spokesman Brig. Gen. Manelis said in a statement on Monday, Jan. 21 that Sunday’s missile attack on the Golan was aimed at civilians and carried out by the Iranian command – not local militias.  For the first time, an Israeli military spokesman named the Al Qods Brigades (of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards under the command of Gen. Qassem Soleimani) as being present in the Damascus region. He said the Iranians “had planned the attack in advance for the purpose of deterring Israel from continuing its operations against them,” stressing: “This was an Iranian attempt to attack Israel.” Manolis said that, early Monday, Jan. 21, Israel, in its most extensive offensive hitherto against Iranian sites in Syria, had struck 10 targets, including “an important weapons warehouse” near the civilian section of Damascus International Airport” and, in other locations, an Iranian intelligence site and an Iranian training camp in Syria’s south. Some Iranian military facilities were embedded in Syrian military compounds. A series of secondary explosions was set off.

Manelis said: “We warned the Syrians not to fire anti-aircraft missiles at our planes during the strike and they chose to fire anyway.” The IDF had responded with three waves of air strikes against the Syrian batteries.
DEBKAfile: The IDF spokesman made no mention of Russian involvement in Syria’s air defense operations against Israel. On Monday morning, the Russian army issued the following statement: Syrian air defenses destroyed over 30 cruise missiles and guided bombs when repelling the Israeli air strike. The statement added that 4 Syrian soldiers had been killed in the Israeli attack and 6 injured.

 

(2) Israel conducts massive bombardment of Iranian targets in Syria – TV7 Israel News 21.01.19 

Posted January 21, 2019 by josephwouk
Categories: Uncategorized

 

 

Islamic State targets US convoy in northeast Syria

Posted January 21, 2019 by josephwouk
Categories: Uncategorized

Source: Islamic State targets US convoy in northeast Syria | The Times of Israel

American military official says there are no casualties among US-led coalition forces, but Britain-based monitoring group claims 5 were killed

Screen capture from video provided by Hawar News, ANHA, shows Kurdish fighters standing guard at the site of a suicide attack near the town of Shaddadeh, in Syria's northeastern province of Hassakeh, Syria, January 21, 2019. (ANHA via AP)

Screen capture from video provided by Hawar News, ANHA, shows Kurdish fighters standing guard at the site of a suicide attack near the town of Shaddadeh, in Syria’s northeastern province of Hassakeh, Syria, January 21, 2019. (ANHA via AP)

BEIRUT — An Islamic State suicide bomber targeted a joint convoy of US and allied Kurdish forces in northern Syria on Monday, the second attack against US troops in less than a week.

US military Col. Sean Ryan said there were no casualties among the US-led coalition members. He added: “We can confirm a combined US and Syrian partner force convoy was involved” in the suicide bomb attack.

“We will continue to review the situation and provide updates as appropriate,” he added.

The Kurdish Hawar news agency, based in northern Syria, said Monday’s blast targeted a Syrian Kurdish checkpoint as a coalition convoy was passing near the town of Shaddadeh. It said two Kurdish fighters were lightly wounded in the blast.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the blast killed five people and wounded others.

Monday’s attack came days after a suicide attack killed 16 people, including two US service members and two American civilians, in the northern Syrian town of Manbij. It also came a month after US President Donald Trump announced his intention to withdraw troops from the war-torn country, declaring that IS had been defeated.

Islamic State claimed both attacks in statements carried by its Aamaq news agency.

 

Iran fires rockets over Mount Hermon. 

Posted January 21, 2019 by josephwouk
Categories: Uncategorized