Posts Tagged ‘cruise missiles’

Syrian forces enter one of Islamic State group’s last strongholds

October 6, 2017

AFP

© AFP | Syrian pro-government forces hold a position near the village of al-Maleha, in the northern countryside of Deir Ezzor, on September 9, 2017.

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2017-10-06

Syrian government forces pushed into one of the last remaining urban strongholds of the Islamic State group in the country’s east on Friday, activists and officials said.

This followed days of fierce fighting and intense Russian airstrikes that involved cruise missiles from the Mediterranean.

The push into the town of Mayadeen came as al-Qaida-linked fighters attacked a key central Syrian village at the crossroads between areas under government control and those controlled by insurgents, activists said.

Taking Mayadeen would mark another blow to the extremist group, which has lost wide areas of Iraq and Syria in its self-declared caliphate over the past year.

Fierce battles are still expected in the town that over the past months became one of the extremists’ main centers after losing other strongholds in Iraq and Syria.

According to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Syrian forces and allied militiamen entered western parts of Mayadeen, including the town’s wheat silos compound and the sheep market.

The Russian state RIA Novosti news agency quoted a Syrian army general as saying that the Syrian forces have fought their way into Mayadeen. The agency quoted the unidentified officer as saying that the army entered the western neighborhoods of the town on Friday.

Syria’s state news agency SANA said troops killed many IS fighters on the western outskirts of Mayadeen and captured western parts of the town. The Russian Defense Ministry announced its submarines fired 10 cruise missiles on Thursday at IS positions outside of Mayadeen.

Airstrikes on the town and nearby areas over the past days have killed and wounded scores of people, including 15 civilians   women and children among them   who were killed when a missile slammed into a government-held neighborhood in the city of Deir el-Zour on Thursday evening.

In central Syria, the attack on the village of Abu Dali in Hama province was led by al-Qaida-linked Hay’at Tahrir al Sham   Arabic for Levant Liberation Committee and also known as HTS. It came two weeks after insurgents attacked a nearby area where three Russian soldiers were wounded.

Earlier this week, Russia’s military claimed the leader of the al-Qaida-linked group was wounded in a Russian airstrike and had fallen into a coma. The military offered no evidence on the purported condition of Abu Mohammed al-Golani.

The al-Qaida-linked group subsequently denied al-Golani was hurt, insisting he is in excellent health and going about his duties as usual. The group’s fighters have been gaining more influence in the northwestern province of Idlib and northern parts of Hama, where they have launched attacks on rival militant groups, as well as areas controlled by the government.

Abu Dali had been spared much of the violence and had functioned as a local business hub between rebel-run areas and those under President Bashar Assad’s forces.

The Observatory said al-Qaida fighters captured several areas in the village on Friday. The HTS-linked Ibaa news agency did not mention the attack but said Russian warplanes were bombing areas the group controls in northern Syria.

Violence in eastern Syria has escalated significantly in recent weeks as Syrian troops with the help of Russian air cover have been closing in on Mayadeen.

The DeirEzzor 24 monitoring group said the missile in the Thursday evening airstrike that killed 15 hit near a school in the Qusour neighborhood. Three children and three women were among those killed, the group said Friday, blaming IS for the attack. The school and a nearby residential building were destroyed.

The Observatory also reported the incident, putting the number of civilians killed at 13. Both the Observatory and DeirEzzor 24 also reported that an airstrike hit the village of Mehkan, just south of Mayadeen, and said it killed several families.

Syrian troops broke a nearly three-year siege on parts of Deir el-Zour last month and are now fighting to liberate the remaining parts of the city from IS.

In other developments, Russia‘s military said one of its helicopters had made an emergency landing in Syria but that its crew was unhurt.

According to the Defense Ministry, the Mi-28 helicopter gunship landed in Hama province on Friday due to a technical malfunction. The two crewmen were not injured and were flown back to base. The ministry said the helicopter was not fired upon.

The ministry’s statement followed a claim by IS-linked Aamaq news agency, which said the group had downed a Russian helicopter south of Shiekh Hilal village in Hama.

Also Friday, the Russian military accused the United States of turning a blind eye and effectively providing cover to IS operations in an area in Syria that is under U.S. control.

The Defense Ministry’s spokesman, Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, said IS militants have used the area around the town of Tanf near Syria’s border with Jordan   where U.S. military instructors are also stationed   to launch attacks against the Syrian army.

The area has become a “black hole,” posing a threat to Syrian army’s offensive against the IS in eastern Der el-Zour province, he added.

The Russian accusations likely reflect rising tensions as U.S.-backed Syrian forces and the Russian-backed Syrian army   both of which are battling IS   race for control of oil and gas-rich areas of eastern Syria.

(AP)

Advertisements

Fear of North Korean Missile Attack Restarts Debate on Pre-Emptive Strike in Japan (“The best defense is a good offense”)

September 2, 2017

TOKYO — Japan is debating whether to develop a limited pre-emptive strike capability and buy cruise missiles — ideas that were anathema in the pacifist country before the North Korea missile threat.

Image result for japanese aegis warships, JMSDF, photos

Pictured JMSDF Akizuki (“Autumn Moon”): Japan’s newest class of destroyer

With revisions to Japan’s defense plans underway, ruling party hawks are accelerating the moves, and some defense experts say Japan should at least consider them.

Japan has a two-step missile defense system, including interceptors on destroyers in the Sea of Japan that would shoot down projectiles mid-flight and if that fails, surface-to-air PAC-3s on land.

In a pre-emptive strike, by Japanese definition, cruise missiles, such as Tomahawk, fired from destroyers or fighter jets would get the enemy missile clearly waiting to be fired, or just after blastoff from a North Korean launch site, before it approaches Japan.

Iran in ‘successful’ test of rocket able to put a satellite into orbit

July 27, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File | Iranians take pictures of the Simorgh satellite rocket during celebrations in Tehran to mark the 37th anniversary of the Islamic revolution on February 11, 2016

TEHRAN (AFP) – Iran on Thursday “successfully” tested a satellite-launch rocket, days after warning Washington of a response to new US sanctions over the Islamic republic’s ballistic missile programme, state television said.It said the launch vehicle, named Simorgh after a bird in Iranian mythology, was capable of propelling a satellite weighing 250 kilograms (550 pounds) to an altitude of 500 kilometres (300 miles) above earth.

The launch marked the official inauguration of Iran’s Imam Khomeini space centre, named after the late founder of the Islamic republic, built for sending satellites into space, the television said, without giving its location.

Western states suspect Iran of developing the technology capable of launching long-range ballistic missiles with conventional or nuclear payloads, a charge denied by Tehran which insists its space programme has purely peaceful aims.

Iran’s four other launches of domestically produced satellites since 2009 have all sparked condemnation in the West.

President Hassan Rouhani said Wednesday that Iran would respond in kind to any breach by the United States of a 2015 nuclear deal after the House of Representatives passed a new sanctions bill.

“If the enemy steps over part of the agreement, we will do the same, and if they step over the entire deal, we will do the same too,” Rouhani said at a cabinet meeting.

The Iranian parliament’s national security and foreign affairs committee said it would hold an extraordinary session on Saturday to discuss its formal response.

The parliament voted earlier this month to fast-track a bill introduced in June that would increase funds for Iran’s missile programme and Revolutionary Guards.

“We must always develop our defence capability and we will strengthen our defensive weapons regardless of the opinion of others,” Rouhani said.

The US House passed a new sanctions bill on Tuesday targeting the Revolutionary Guards over its missile programme.

As part of its space programme, Iran has also sent two capsules into space, the first in February 2010 carrying a rat, tortoises and insects, and the other in January 2013 when a monkey was sent into space and returned to earth safely, according to official media.

Related:

Related image
USS Thunderbolt

 (Qatar stands in support of Iran)

Iran Claims Successful Rocket Test, Move Likely to Anger U.S.

July 27, 2017

DUBAI — Iran has successfully tested a rocket that can deliver satellites into orbit, state television reported on Thursday – an event likely to raise tensions with the United States because of its potential use in a ballistic missile.

“The Imam Khomeini Space Centre was officially opened with the successful test of the Simorgh (Phoenix) space launch vehicle,” state television said. “The Simorgh can place a satellite weighing up to 250 kg (550 pounds) in an orbit of 500 km (311 miles).”

“The Imam Khomeini Space Centre … is a large complex that includes all stages of the preparation, launch, control and guidance of satellites,” state television added.

The United States this month slapped new economic sanctions on Iran over its ballistic missile programme, and said Tehran’s “malign activities” in the Middle East had undercut any “positive contributions” from a 2015 accord curbing its nuclear programme.

The measures signalled that President Donald Trump wanted to put more pressure on Iran while keeping in place the accord between Tehran and six world powers, which he has in the past condemned.

On Saturday, Iran announced the launch of a new facility to produce a missile that can target fighter planes, unmanned aerial vehicles, cruise missiles and helicopters.

Image may contain: mountain, sky, outdoor and nature

In 2013, Iran said it had successfully launched a monkey into space and retrieved it alive, which officials hailed as a major step towards their goal of sending humans into space.

But in March, an official said the state-run space agency had cancelled a project to launch a human into space because of high costs.

(Reporting by Dubai newsroom; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

Iran Announces New Missile Production Line: State Media

July 22, 2017

BEIRUT — Iran announced the launch of a new missile production line on Saturday, according to state media, against a backdrop of tension between the United States and Tehran.

The Sayyad 3 missile can reach an altitude of 27 km (16 miles) and travel up to 120 km (74 miles), Iranian defense minister Hossein Dehghan said at a ceremony.

The missile can target fighter planes, unmanned aerial vehicles, cruise missiles and helicopters, Dehghan said.

Last week, the United States slapped new economic sanctions on Iran over its ballistic missile program, and said Tehran’s “malign activities” in the Middle East undercut any “positive contributions” coming from a 2015 Iran nuclear accord.

The measures signaled that the administration of President Donald Trump was seeking to put more pressure on Iran while keeping in place the agreement between Tehran and six world powers to curb its nuclear program in return for lifting international oil and financial sanctions.

 Image result for Iranian defense minister Hossein Dehghan, photos
Iranian defense minister Hossein Dehghan

The U.S. government said it was targeting 18 entities and people for supporting what it said were “illicit Iranian actors or transnational criminal activity”.

Those sanctioned had backed Iran’s military or the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps by developing drones and military equipment, producing and maintaining boats, and procuring electronic components, it said. Others had “orchestrated the theft of U.S. and Western software programs” sold to Iran’s government, the Treasury Department said.

On Monday, the Trump administration said Iran was complying with the nuclear agreement but that it was in default of the spirit of the accord.

It was the second time Trump has certified Iranian compliance with the agreement since he took office in January, despite having described it as “the worst deal ever” during his 2016 presidential campaign, criticizing then-President Barack Obama, whose administration negotiated the accord.

Dehghan said at the ceremony on Saturday that the recent $110 billion military deal between the United States and Saudi Arabia, announced during Trump’s visit to Riyadh in May, was intended as a threat to Iran.

“We recently witnessed an immense purchase that some countries in the region paid as a ransom to America and they intend to bring weapons into the region, and this purchase was done with the goal of threatening Islamic Iran,” Dehghan said according to the website for state TV.

(Reporting By Babak Dehghanpisheh; Editing by Andrew Bolton)

********************************

Iran reveals production line of new missile it says can shoot down stealth fighter jets 75 miles away

  • The new Sayyad-3 missile is allegedly capable of hitting targets at altitudes of up to 17 miles 
  • Iranian defense chiefs boast it’s ‘completely indigenous technology’ and can track 30 targets simultaneously
  • They insisted the move was defensive and said Iran was the ‘protector of peace and security in the region’
  • Although Iran’s nuclear programme was dismantled in 2016 tensions with Israel and the U.S. still remain high 

Iran has begun a production line for a new version of an air defense missile.

The new weapon is called the Sayyad-3, which means ‘hunter’ in Farsi, and has range of roughly 75 miles. It is allegedly capable of hitting targets at altitudes of up to 17 miles.

The country’s air defense chief, Brigadier General Farzad Esmaili, said during a ceremony that the missile is ‘a completely indigenous technology.’

The new missile, which translates as 'hunter-3', is allegedly capable of tracking up to 30 targets simultaneously 

The new missile, which translates as ‘hunter-3’, is allegedly capable of tracking up to 30 targets simultaneously

The country's Defense Minister claimed it was capable of engaging with threats including drones and stealth aircraft 

The country’s Defense Minister claimed it was capable of engaging with threats including drones and stealth aircraft

Iran’s Defense Minister, General Hossein Dehghan, told local media the weapons system can track 30 targets and engage 12 of them simultaneously.

He said: ‘Sayyad-3 is designed based on the latest technologies in the world and is capable of fighting with various types of threats including drones, stealth aircraft, cruise missiles, helicopters and various types of other aircraft.

‘We regret that our neighbours consider Iran’s capabilities and power as threats to themselves, while we are the protector of peace and security in the region.’

The Sayyad-3 joins Iran’s formidable arsenal of Surface to Air Missiles, which includes the Russian-built S-300 air defense system – installed last August around the Fordo nuclear site, south of the capital Tehran.

Iran commonly boasts about its indigenous military technology, but it has not been verified by outside experts

Iran commonly boasts about its indigenous military technology, but it has not been verified by outside experts

NATO considers the missiles system to be one of the most advanced in the world. Israeli Air force commander Major General Amir Eshel said the S-300 could pose a ‘significant but not insurmountable challenge’.

Iran has long been preoccupied with potentially having to defend its nuclear weapons programme from Israeli or American fighters.

In 2016 it agreed to dismantle major parts of its nuclear programme in return for the lifting of sanctions, however tensions remain.

Iran's Defense Minister, General Hossein Dehghan, said the country was the 'protector of peace and security in the region' 

Iran’s Defense Minister, General Hossein Dehghan, said the country was the ‘protector of peace and security in the region’

Iran occasionally announces production of sophisticated homegrown weapons that cannot be independently verified.

In 2013, the Iranian Air Force announced that it had built a prototype for a single-seat stealth aircraft called the Qaher-313. However independent experts widely ridiculed the plane.

In 1992 the country began a military self-sufficiency program under which it produces mortars to missiles and tanks to submarines.

Iran’s Air Force, however, still comprises of Cold War-era aircraft, liken the F-14 Tomcat and the MiG-29.

In 1992 Iran began a military self-sufficiency programme to produce everything from tanks to planes and missiles 

In 1992 Iran began a military self-sufficiency programme to produce everything from tanks to planes and missiles

An Israeli Air Force F-15. Tensions between the two countries remain high, despite the Iranian nuclear deal in 2016

An Israeli Air Force F-15. Tensions between the two countries remain high, despite the Iranian nuclear deal

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4720642/Iran-reveals-production-line-new-missile.html#ixzz4naHsivzr
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

EU to consider additional NKorea sanctions after missile test

July 4, 2017

AFP

© AFP | A South Korean soldier watches a television news showing file footage of a North Korean missile launch, at a railway station in Seoul on July 4, 2017

BRUSSELS (AFP) – The European Union on Tuesday warned it may consider additional sanctions against North Korea after it carried out what Pyongyang tested what it claimed to be an intercontinental ballistic missile.

Last month, the EU expanded its sanctions blacklist after North Korea launched a volley of surface-to-ship cruise missiles off its east coast.

The EU’s external affairs arm said in a statement that the bloc expected North Korea to abide by UN resolutions and halt all work on its nuclear and missile programmes.

The European Union “will consider an appropriate response, in close consultation with key partners and in line with UN Security Council deliberations, including possible additional restrictive measures,” it said.

The EU expected North Korea to refrain from any further action which could increase regional tensions and to take part in talks on resolving the crisis, it added.

In an unusual joint statement earlier, Russia and China condemned the missile test as “unacceptable” and urged against “any statements or actions that could lead to an increase in tensions.”

EU sanctions against North Korea date back to 2006 and are part of international efforts to halt a nuclear and ballistic missile programme which experts say is intended to give Pyongyang the capability to hit the US mainland.

Related:

 (Mister President: China is not your friend)

 (Includes links to several related articles)

Missile Threats Surging Worldwide, U.S. Defense Study Finds

June 26, 2017

By Tony Capaccio and Larry Liebert
Bloomberg

June 26, 2017, 12:01 AM EDT June 26, 2017, 10:32 AM EDT
Includes Video:
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-06-26/missile-threats-are-surging-worldwide-u-s-defense-study-finds
  • ‘Dramatic improvements in accuracy’ cited in report on trends
  • The missiles can carry nuclear or conventional warheads

Technology for ballistic and cruise missiles is advancing in countries from North Korea and Iran to Russia and China, increasing potential threats to the U.S. even if they don’t carry nuclear warheads, according to a new Pentagon report.

“Many countries view ballistic and cruise missile systems as cost-effective weapons and symbols of national power,” defense intelligence agencies said in the report obtained by Bloomberg News in advance of its release. “Many ballistic and cruise missiles are armed with weapons of mass destruction. However, numerous types of ballistic and cruise missiles have achieved dramatic improvements in accuracy that allow them to be used effectively with conventional warheads.”

The report comes as President Donald Trump’s administration seeks a way to stop North Korea’s drive to develop a nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missile that could hit the U.S. mainland. While citing the ballistic missile programs being pursued by Kim Jong Un’s regime in Pyongyang and by Iran, the study describes a broader proliferation of missiles, advanced technology and launch options.

“Ballistic missiles can be deployed in silos, on submarines, surface ships, road- and rail-mobile launchers and aircraft,” the report said. “Mobile missiles can provide greater pre-launch survivability. The last decade has seen a dramatic increase in ballistic missile capabilities to include accuracy, post-boost maneuverability, and combat effectiveness.”

Read More About the Options for Dealing With North Korea

Among the new technologies are hypersonic glide vehicles being developed by Russia and China.

“HGVS are maneuverable vehicles that travel at hypersonic (greater than Mach 5) speed and spend most of their flight at much lower altitudes than a typical ballistic missile,” according to the report. “The combination of high speed, maneuverability, and relatively low altitude makes them challenging targets for missile defense systems.”

Image result for Shahab 3, photos

Shahab 3 ballistic missile

Other findings in the report by the National Air and Space Intelligence Center and the Defense Intelligence Ballistic Missile Analysis Committee:

  • “Tehran’s desire to have a strategic counter to the United States could drive it to field an ICBM. Progress in Iran’s space program could shorten a pathway to an ICBM because space launch vehicles (SLV) use inherently similar technologies.”
    Iran has modified its medium-range Shahab 3 ballistic missile, which is based on a North Korean model, to extend its range and effectiveness. The longest-range variant reportedly is able to reach targets at a distance of about 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles.) The U.S. agencies assess that Iran currently has fewer than 50 Shahab 3s.
  • “China continues to have the most active and diverse ballistic missile development program in the world. It is developing and testing offensive missiles, forming additional missile units, qualitatively upgrading missile systems, and developing methods to counter ballistic missile defenses.”
    China is expected to increase the number of warheads on its ICBMs capable of threatening the United States to substantially more than 100 by 2022 from the “relatively small number of nuclear armed, liquid-propellant” CSS-3 and CSS-4 ICBMs capable of reaching the U.S. today.
  • Russia, which surpassed the U.S. in 2014 in deployed nuclear warheads, “is expected to retain the largest force of strategic ballistic missiles outside the United States.”
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-06-26/missile-threats-are-surging-worldwide-u-s-defense-study-finds

Russian Navy Launches Missile Strikes on IS Target in Syria: RIA

June 23, 2017

MOSCOW — Russian naval vessels launched missile strikes on Islamic State targets in Syria’s Hama province, destroying command points and weapon and ammunition stores, RIA news agency cited the Russian defense ministry as saying on Friday.

(Reporting by Alexander Winning; Editing by Christian Lowe)

********************************

Published time: 23 Jun, 2017 05:35
Edited time: 23 Jun, 2017 06:40

Two Russian Navy frigates and a submarine have fired six Kalibr cruise missiles on Islamic State targets in Syria, the Defense Ministry said. Militants who survived the attack were later killed in airstrikes.

© Russian Defence Ministry / Global Look PressRussian frigate & submarine fire 4 cruise missiles at ISIS targets near Palmyra – MoD

The missiles were launched from Russian Navy frigates, the Admiral Essen and the Admiral Grigorovich, as well as a submarine, the Krasnodar, from the eastern Mediterranean, the Defense Ministry said in a Friday statement. The submarine fired its missiles while submerged.

Image result for Admiral Essen, ship, photos

Russian Navy frigate Admiral Essen

The strikes targeted Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) command and control centers, as well as ammunition depots in the Syrian province of Hama.

Today’s precision strike hit a large IS ammunition depot near the town of Aqerbat, which detonated after receiving a direct hit, the Defense Ministry statement noted.

The remaining targets were destroyed in subsequent airstrikes, the ministry said. Russia warned Turkey and Israel about the attacks via military-to-military hotlines, it added.

Image result for russian ships firing cruise missiles, photos

Over the past week, Islamic State militants made numerous attempts to escape the besieged city of Raqqa and head towards Palmyra using a “southern corridor,” according to the Russian military.

The terrorists are moving forces through rugged terrain to the Hama province during the night and setting up command posts and ammunition depots in large buildings there, it added.

The movements of IS militants in the area are being monitored by Russian surveillance assets operating round the clock, the military said, adding that any potential targets detected will be subject to precision strikes by the Air Force.

Earlier in May, the same warships fired four cruise missiles that hit combat vehicles and militants outside the Syrian city of Palmyra.


Image may contain: outdoor

According to the Defense Ministry, “[the ships] targeted an area east of Palmyra, where the militants’ heavy weaponry and manpower were located. The militants had moved there from Raqqa. All targets were destroyed,” it said.

The strike was launched after a large Islamic State convoy, comprising 39 vehicles and 120 militants, was spotted outside the city of Raqqa, a Defense Ministry source told RIA Novosti at the time.

“The terrorist convoy of 39 pickup trucks was detected and destroyed by the Air Force on its way to Palmyra,” the source said, adding that the vehicles had been equipped with large-caliber machine guns.

Back in August of last year, the Russian Black Sea Fleet also fired Kalibr cruise missiles over unpopulated areas to destroy a command post and munitions production site of another terrorist group operating in Syria, the Al-Nusra Front, the Russian military said.

https://www.rt.com/news/393667-russian-navy-isis-cruise-missiles/

Russia fires cruise missiles at Islamic State targets from Mediterranean

May 31, 2017

Reuters

Wed May 31, 2017 | 3:54am EDT

A Russian warship and submarine have fired four cruise missiles from the Mediterranean at Islamic State targets near the Syrian city of Palmyra, the Defense Ministry said on Wednesday.

The strike, which Russian news agencies said was the first of its kind since November, was carried out by the frigate “Admiral Essen” and the submarine “Krasnodar,” and targeted militants and equipment in an area east of Palmyra.

The defense ministry said the hardware and forces struck had previously been deployed by Islamic State in Raqqa.

“All targets were destroyed,” it said in a statement.

Image may contain: outdoor and water

Russian Project 11356 class frigates, Admiral Essen

Russia had warned the United States, Turkey and Israel before launching the missiles, the ministry said.

It did not say when the strike took place, but Russian news agencies quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying that Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu had personally told President Vladimir Putin about the military action late on Tuesday.

Image may contain: ocean, water and outdoor

Russian Kilo-class submarine Krasnodar

The last time Russia fired Kalibr cruise missiles from its ships at militant targets in Syria was in November last year, the RIA news agency said.

Separately, photographs published on Wednesday by Turkish bloggers for their online Bosphorus Naval News project showed a Russian Syria-bound ship passing through the Bosphorus carrying a consignment of military trucks.

(Reporting by Maria Kiselyova/Dmitry Solovyov/Jack Stubbs; Editing by Andrew Osborn)

Image result for russian ships launching cruise missiles, photos

Russian ship launching cruise missiles — photo made from the footage taken from Russian Defense Ministry official web site — File photo

Japan prepares to send troops to South Korea in case of evacuation

April 18, 2017

AFP

Image may contain: 2 people, people standing

Japan’s Defence Minister Tomomi Inada arrives at the prime minister’s official residence in Tokyo on April 5, 2017, after North Korea launched a ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan.PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO (AFP) – Japan will prepare to send troops to the Korean peninsula to protect its nationals there if a crisis requires their evacuation, its defence chief reportedly said on Tuesday (April 18).

The remarks by Defence Minister Tomomi Inada came as fears grow over North Korea, which is believed to be on the verge of a sixth nuclear test and has threatened to launch missile tests “every week”.

But her statement in parliament reported by Jiji Press and public broadcaster NHK is likely to be controversial in South Korea.

There, memories of Japan’s brutal colonial occupation from 1910-1945 have hindered relations and the possibility of Japanese troops on its soil would likely cause anger.

Inada, a noted hawk who supports a bigger role for Japan’s military, said that the country would be ready to mobilise its troops if Japanese needed to be evacuated “but have difficulties in leaving via private means of transportation”.

Inada said such a dispatch of troops is allowed under Japanese law, which also requires the consent of the related country.

Japan’s constitution renounces the right to wage war and the country’s military is limited to self defence in the strictest sense.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, however, is pushing to expand the military’s role and legislation was passed in 2015 that could see troops engage in overseas combat for the first time since the end of World War II.

Inada’s comments came as US Vice President Mike Pence arrived in Japan after visiting South Korea, the first leg of his Asian tour, and observed the Demilitarized Zone separating the two Koreas.

Pence met Abe on Tuesday, reiterating Washington’s commitment to their decades-old alliance.