Posts Tagged ‘missiles’

Syria, Lebanon will be ‘one front’ if war erupts against Israel: minister

October 10, 2017


© AFP | Israeli soldiers take part in a military exercise simulating conflict with Lebanese movement Hezbollah, in the Israeli annexed Golan Heights, near the Syrian border on September 5, 2017

JERUSALEM (AFP) – Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Tuesday that Lebanon and Syria would constitute “one front” against his country if a new war were to break out.

Hezbollah and Israel fought a devastating conflict in 2006, and the Lebanese Shiite group is currently backing President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in the Syrian civil war.

Both countries border Israel to its north.

 Image result for Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman, photos

“In the next war in the north of the country, Lebanon will not be the only front,” Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman  said in a speech to soldiers.

“There is now only one front in the north composed of Lebanon, Syria, Hezbollah, the Bashar al-Assad regime and all those who help his regime.”

Lieberman added that the Lebanese army had lost “its independence by becoming an integral part of Hezbollah, which gives it its orders.”

Israeli leaders frequently warn Lebanon that the country’s army and civilian infrastructure would be overwhelmingly targeted if Hezbollah attacks from civilian areas.

Hezbollah is also supported by Iran, Israel’s arch-enemy which backs Assad in Syria as well.

Israel’s military believes Hezbollah has between 100,000 and 120,000 short- and medium-range missiles and rockets, as well as several hundred long-range missiles, with the medium-range missiles capable of reaching Tel Aviv.

Lieberman evoked the possibility of a simultaneous conflict in the north and in the south with Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

“The battle will take place on the northern and southern fronts,” he said.

“There is no longer war on one front. It’s our basic assumption and it is what our military is preparing for.”

Since 2008, Israel has fought three wars with Hamas, which also receives support from Iran.

Israel has sought to avoid becoming involved in the Syrian civil war, but acknowledges carrying out dozens of air strikes there to stop what it says are advanced weapons deliveries to Hezbollah.


The Next Middle East War

September 8, 2017
Israel and Iran are heading for conflict over southern Syria.
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Donald Trump during a news conference with the Emir of Kuwait at the White House, September 7, 2017.

By The Editorial Board
The wall Street Journal
Sept. 7, 2017 7:22 p.m. ET

Israel launched airstrikes on a military compound in Syria on Thursday, and the bombing should alert the Trump Administration as much as the Syrians. They carry a warning about the next war in the Middle East that could draw in the U.S.

Israel doesn’t confirm or deny its military strikes, but former officials said they were aimed at a base for training and a warehouse for short- and midrange missiles. The strikes also hit a facility that the U.S. cited this year for involvement in making chemical weapons.

The larger context is the confrontation that is building between Israel and Iran as the war against Islamic State moves to a conclusion in Syria and Iraq. Iran is using Syria’s civil war, and the battle against ISIS, as cause to gain a permanent military foothold in Syria that can threaten Israel either directly or via its proxies in Syria and Lebanon.

Tehran has helped Hezbollah stockpile tens of thousands of missiles that will be launched against Israel in the next inevitable conflict. If it can also dominate southern Syria, Iran can establish a second front on the border near the Golan Heights that would further stretch Israel’s ability to defend itself.

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Israel may have to make more such strikes in Syria because Iran isn’t likely to give up on this strategic opening. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards know they have Russia’s backing in Syria, and the U.S. is signaling that it is loathe to do anything to change that once Islamic State is routed from Raqqa.

“As far as Syria is concerned, we have very little to do with Syria other than killing ISIS,” President Trump said Thursday at a White House press conference with the emir of Kuwait. “What we do is we kill ISIS. And we have succeeded in that respect. We have done better in eight months of my Presidency than the previous eight years against ISIS.”

Great, but the problem is that the end of ISIS won’t bring stability to Syria, and American interests in the Middle East don’t end with ISIS. The danger of a proxy war or even a direct war between Iran and Israel is growing, and it will increase as Iran’s presence builds in Syria. Mr. Trump may not like it, but he needs a strategy for post-ISIS Syria that contains Iran if he doesn’t want the U.S. to be pulled back into another Middle East war.



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Fatemeh Bahrami | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
A Iranian woman walks past a wall painting in the shape of Iranian flag in Tehran, Iran on the first anniversary of nuclear deal between Iran and world powers on January 16, 2017.

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Iran has boasted about its ballistic missiles, many of which are on mobile launchers

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© Saudi Royal Palace/AFP/File / by Ali Choukeir | A handout picture provided by the Saudi Royal Palace on July 30, 2017 shows Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (R) receiving prominent Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in Jeddah

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Iran’s Parliament increases funding for missiles after U.S. sanctions — Lawmakers shouted: “Death to America.”

August 13, 2017


© Atta Kenare, AFP | Members of Iran’s Armed Forces attend President Hassan Rouhani’s swearing-in ceremony in Tehran on August 5, 2017. Rouhani warned the US against tearing up the nuclear deal as he was inaugurated for a second term.


Latest update : 2017-08-13

Iran’s parliament voted Sunday to allocate $520 million to develop its missile programme to fight Washington’s “adventurism” and sanctions, and to boost the foreign operations of the country’s Revolutionary Guards.

“The Americans should know that this was our first action,” said speaker Ali Larijani, after announcing an overwhelming majority vote for a package “to confront terrorist and adventurist actions by the United States in the region”.

A total of 240 lawmakers voted for the bill, out of the 244 parliamentarians present.

The vote came after fresh US sanctions in July against Iran, targeting Tehran’s missile programme.

“The bill is backed by the foreign ministry and the government and is part of measures by the JCPOA supervision committee to confront the recent US Congress law,” deputy foreign minister Abbas Araghchi.

He was referring to a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, known officially as the JCPOA, under which Iran agreed to strict limits on its nuclear programme in exchange for an easing of sanctions.

The bill mandates the government to allocate an additional $260 million for the “development of the missile programme” and the same amount to the Revolutionary Guards’s foreign operations wing, the Quds Force, state news agency IRNA said.

After Larijani announced the vote results, lawmakers shouted: “Death to America.”

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

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Iran fires missiles at ISIL positions in eastern Syria

June 19, 2017

Iranian Revolutionary Guard says it targeted ISIL bases in Deir Az Zor in retaliation for the June 7 attacks in Tehran.

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Iranian television showed footage of the missiles being launched into the night sky [Handout/EPA]

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard says it has fired several missiles at ISIL positions in Syria’s Deir Az Zor province in retaliation for two deadly attacks in Tehran earlier this month that were claimed by the armed group.

“Medium-range missiles were fired from the (western) provinces of Kermanshah and Kurdestan, and a large number of terrorists were killed and weapons destroyed,” the Guard said in a statement published on its Sepahnews website on Sunday.

It said the attack targeted “a command base .. of the terrorists in Deir Ezzor”, using a different version of the name for the province in eastern Syria.

“The spilling of any pure blood will not go unanswered,” it added.

Iranian television showed footage of the missiles being launched into the night sky.

The firing of the missiles, the first in 30 years outside Iran’s own territory, came hours after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in a statement on his website, vowed Iran would “slap its enemies” in honour of the victims’ families, including those killed in Syria and Iraq.

Deir Az Zor is an oil-rich province that links ISIL’s de-facto capital, the Syrian city of Raqqa, with territory controlled by the group in neighbouring Iraq.

Al Jazeera’s Stefanie Dekker, reporting from Gaziantep, near the Syria-Turkey border, called the firing of the missiles a “hugely significant and major development”.

Another footage of the moment when ‘s IRGC fires missiles targeting terrorists in of .

“We need to see this in two folds – one in the context of the war in Syria: Iran has been providing advisers, fighters, volunteers, militias, weapons and money, but it has never targeted the country with this kind of strike,” she said.

“And, of course, we need to see this in the wider geopolitical context: it will be very interesting what the reaction is going to be from countries such as Saudi Arabia, the United States and Israel, because Iran is saying it can retaliate and it will.”

Symbolic attacks

ISIL, which stands for Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and is also known as ISIS, claimed responsibility for the June 7 attacks on Iran’s parliament and the Mausoleum of Ayatollah Khomeini that left 17 people dead.

The attack on Khomeini’s shrine was symbolically stunning. As Iran’s first supreme leader, Khomeini is a towering figure in the country and was its revolutionary leader in the 1979 ouster of the shah.

Senior Iranian officials had also put the blame for the Tehran attacks on Riyadh, saying Saudi Arabia was “promoting terrorist groups” in Iran.

Iran is a key ally of the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad, alongside Russia and the Iranian-backed Hezbollah movement of Lebanon.

In March, an official was quoted by Iran’s IRNA news agency as saying that about 2,100 combatants sent by Iran have been killed in Syria and Iraq.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies




Iran’s Revolutionary Guards launched missiles into Syria and successfully hit Islamic State group targets, it says

June 19, 2017


© IRIB TV/AFP | A handout picture provided by Iran’s state TV IRIB and released on June 18, 2017 shows Iran’s Revolutionary Guards launching a missile from an undisclosed location in western Iran, towards Islamic State group bases in Syria

TEHRAN (AFP) – Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said Monday missiles it fired into Syria had successfully hit Islamic State group targets in retaliation for Tehran attacks claimed by the jihadists earlier this month.

“Based on credible information, the missile operation against Daesh has been successful,” Revolutionary Guards spokesman General Ramezan Sharif said on the elite force’s Sepahnews website, using an Arabic acronym for IS.

The Guards fired six missiles from the west of Iran across the border and into Syria’s mostly IS-held Deir Ezzor province, targeting an IS command base, they said earlier.

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Sunday’s strike came after twin attacks in Tehran on June 7 killed 17 people, in the first attacks in the Islamic republic claimed by IS.

The missile attack was the first by Iran outside its own territory in 30 years, since the Iran-Iraq war of 1980-88, media in the Islamic republic has reported.

General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, who heads the Revolutionary Guards’ aerospace wing, told state television: “The missiles were fired from Iran and they passed over Iraq and landed in Syria.”

“Drones flying from near Damascus to Deir Ezzor transmitted (footage of) missiles hitting their targets,” he said.

“Firing these missiles from 600 or 700 kilometres away onto a small building… demonstrates Iran’s capacity and intelligence capabilities” against jihadist groups, he said.

It came hours after supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in a statement vowed Iran would “slap its enemies” in honour of the families of victims, including those killed in Syria and Iraq.

Iranian media reported some of the mid-range missiles fired into Syria were of the Zolfaghar type, a precision-guided missile with a range of about 750 kilometres.

Iran’s homegrown missiles, a serious point of contention with Washington and Tel Aviv, can reach up to 2,000 kilometres.

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Zolfaghar missile

Iran missile program growing, not slowing, according to senior commander

May 27, 2017

Fox News

As President Trump wrapped up his first foreign trip on Friday, Iranian leaders made another defiant declaration in the war of words unfolding between Tehran and Washington.

According to a senior Revolutionary Guard commander who spoke to the semi-official Fars news agency, the regime has apparently built a third underground missile factory despite sanction by both the U.S. and the United Nations.

“Iran’s third underground factory has been built by the Guards in recent years,” Amirali Hajizadeh, head of the Guard’s airspace division, was quoted as saying. He added that the regime “will continue to further develop our missile capabilities forcefully.”

The announcement flies in the face of a series of statements and sanctions designed to curtail this exact kind of activity. A 2015 U.N. Security Council resolution “calls upon Iran not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology.”


The Trump administration imposed new sanctions in February of this year in response to an Iranian missile launch shortly after the president’s inauguration. The sanctions came after President Trump declared on Twitter that he was formally putting Iran “on notice.”

It was barely a week before Iran was conducting tests again, even launching the new missile from the same launch pad used a week before.

Tehran was back at it about a month later, launching a pair of ballistic missiles in a test that unfolded around the same time as an alarming confrontation between Iranian fast-attack vessels and a group of U.S. Navy and international warships.

Just last week, the administration announced a new round of economic penalties over activities related to Iran’s ballistic missile activities and programs. And President Trump has made a point to criticize Iran publicly, and repeatedly, during his ongoing trip to the Middle East and beyond.


The president has called out the regime by name, suggesting that combating “the threat posed by Iran” is a top priority, and blaming Tehran for the spread of “destruction and chaos” across the region.

On Saturday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he hoped Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who had just been re-elected for a four-year term, “puts an end” to the launches.

Just a few days later, on Monday of this week, Rouhani made clear that won’t be happening anytime soon. Iran’s missiles “are for peace, not for attack,” he said, adding that his nation will not wait for “permission” from the U.S. and others before conducting its own controversial tests.

China’s missile tests in Bohai ‘aimed at THAAD in South Korea’

May 10, 2017
By Minnie Chan
South China Morning Post
Wednesday, 10 May, 2017, 2:46pm

Chinese rocket forces tested a new type of missile aimed at the country’s waters west of the Korean peninsula, the defence ministry announced in a rare public statement on Tuesday.

The statement did not say what missiles were tested or when the launches took place but the announcement was likely aimed at South Korea and the United States, observers said.

“The People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force conducted tests of new types of missiles somewhere in Bohai in recent days, and achieved desired results,” the ministry said.

It said the test was designed to boost the military’s capacity to fight threats to national security.

Military analysts said the “rare high-profile announcement of the missile tests” was a response to the deployment of the US-built Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) anti-missile system in South Korea.

The announcement comes after defence ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said last month that China would conduct live-fire drills and test new weapons to safeguard its security in response to the THAAD roll-out.

The US military began installing the first components of the system in South Korea late last month after nuclear-armed North Korea launched four missiles which it said was part of training for a strike on US bases in Japan.

Hong Kong-based military analyst Liang Guoliang said the missiles might have been launched from northwest China, probably in Xinjiang or Gansu, with the warheads landing in Bohai.

“The missiles might be launched from the northeast to the east by the Rocket Force, with a range of 2,000km or above. It was likely the advanced intermediate-range DF-26B, a modified version of the DF-26,” Liang said.

“Given the landing area, the test is obviously aimed at THAAD in South Korea.”

The DF-26B is the new generation of the Dongfeng series missiles.

Zhou Chenming, from the Knowfar Institute for Strategic and Defence Studies, a Chinese think tank, said: “The test might involve variants of new missile types, including the DF-21, DF-26 and other types of Dongfeng series missiles.”

Macau-based military observer Antony Wong Dong said the test might also be aimed at Washington, which has sent two aircraft carrier strike groups to waters off the peninsula.

“The test missile might be a new modified DF-26A anti-ship missile launched from a marine weapons testing ground in southern Liaoning,” Wong said.

The Pentagon sent the USS Carl Vinson carrier strike group to the Korean peninsula to conduct naval drills with the South Korea navy and Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force last month.

Another carrier, the Ronald Reagan, will join with it late this month, according to an earlier report from the Nikkei Asian Review.


China says it tested new missile in northeastern sea

May 9, 2017


© POOL/AFP/File | Soldiers of China’s People Liberation Army (PLA) take part in a military parade at Tiananmen Square in Beijing on September 3, 2015

BEIJING (AFP) – China has recently tested a new type of guided missile in a northeastern sea near the Korean peninsula, the defence ministry said Tuesday, hours after South Korean elections and amid regional tensions.

The test in the Bohai Sea was conducted to “raise the operational capability of the armed forces and effectively respond to threats to national security,” the ministry said in a brief statement.

The statement did not say when the launch took place, only that it happened “recently.” It did not give any details about the missile nor the type of platform from which it was launched.

The announcement came on the day that South Koreans elected left-leaning former human rights lawyer Moon Jae-In in a presidential election held after a scandal led to the impeachment of the country’s previous leader.

The test also comes as China, the United States and the Koreas are locked in a complex diplomatic spat over Pyongyang’s missile launches and potential new nuclear tests.

The US military has installed an anti-missile defence system in South Korea to counter the North Korean threat, but China sees the deployment as a threat to the regional security balance and its own ballistic missile capabilities.

Israel readies for all threats —

April 11, 2017


© AFP / by Joe Dyke | Soldiers onboard the Israeli corvette INS Hanit take part in a training exercise in the Mediterranean Sea on April 4, 2017. Israel’s navy has historically been one of the smaller and less well-known parts of its military


White specks appear on the horizon and a voice crackles over the radio with a warning: “The speed boat is acting independently.”

Two boats on suicide bombing missions had been spotted either side of the INS Hanit, one of the Israeli navy’s top warships.

“We recognise the target. This is an immediate enemy,” a voice says in Hebrew over the loudspeaker. “Ready for action.”

A siren rings out and young recruits rush to the back, hurrying to put on helmets and bulletproof vests before manning machine-guns.

The Hanit’s engines go full throttle, dragging it rapidly from three to 27 knots (50 kilometres per hour). The speedboats rush forward but cannot catch up.

The “attack” last week was in fact part of a series of war games with Greek and US forces to prepare for a range of threats, from submarines to more immediate risks from Hamas and Hezbollah.

The Hanit holds a prominent place in Israeli consciousness. It was struck by a Hezbollah missile off the Lebanese coast in the 2006 war with the Lebanese Shiite militant group, killing four soldiers.

It was the first direct strike on an Israeli warship in decades and Hezbollah celebrated it as among its biggest victories of the 34-day war.

More than 1,200 Lebanese, mostly civilians, and 120 Israelis, the majority soldiers, died during the conflict but many in Israel consider the war a failure as Hezbollah was not defeated.

The strike on the Hanit symbolised for many how overconfidence fed into that failure.

An investigation found that the missile hit because officials didn’t believe Hezbollah had such sophisticated technology and so didn’t turn on anti-missile systems.

– ‘Big shock’ –

The Israeli head of the current training mission insists they are still learning the lessons.

“The hit of the Hanit was such a big shock to Israel, a trauma, that I am sure no one would let it happen again,” he told AFP aboard the ship, speaking on condition of anonymity under military rules.

The ship could have sunk if the missile had struck directly rather than hitting a crane, he said.

“The reason that it happened from my point of view was that we were not prepared for this kind of missile.”

Israelis do compulsory military service at 18 and many on board during the recent training exercise were under 10 back in 2006.

Nimrod, a young sailor who already has more than 6,000 hours of experience on board during his nearly three years of service, said they were regularly reminded of the deaths.

In the corridor near the sleeping quarters, a picture of the four men killed hangs on the wall.

The ship is now equipped with Barak missile defence systems, as well as advanced missiles.

In the control room, around 20 men are stationed at attack, defence, sonar, radar and operations desks.

Decisions on incoming missiles must be made in “seconds”, one said.

“Overconfidence is the biggest enemy at war,” the commander added.

“I think we need to be alert more for any kind of threats — not to be sure we know everything.”

In future potential conflicts with Hezbollah and the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, the commander said, the threat of “suicide boats” is more of a concern than submarines.

– ‘Any kind of threat’ –

Israel’s navy had historically been one of the smaller and less well-known parts of its military.

Although more than 90 percent of Israel’s imports come via sea, in the wars with Arab neighbours in the 1960s and 1970s, the airforce and ground troops played the primary roles.

But in the years since the 2006 war, a key change has occurred: Israel has discovered major gas fields off its coast.

Protecting the non-moving “easy targets” of gas platforms, the commander said, provides a new challenge.

For that reason the country is investing in new warships, the Saar 6.

“If it is located by one of the platforms, it should be safe from any kind of threat — asymmetrical threat, any kind of missile and any kind of rocket,” he said.

Shaul Chorev, a former deputy chief of naval operations, said Hezbollah and Hamas still pose a threat to the navy.

In January, two people were killed aboard a Saudi frigate when it was hit by a missile fired by Shiite Huthi rebels in Yemen, a group that is, like Hezbollah, supported by Iran.

“The Huthis supported by Iran and using the same technology (as Hezbollah) are hitting Saudi warships and also threatening US navy ships,” he said.

by Joe Dyke