Exercise described as test of Israel Hetz anti-ballistic missile system jointly developed with US.
Israel has announced that it carried out a test of an anti-missile system, shortly after Russia announced that its defence systems detected the launch of two missiles from the central part of the Mediterranean Sea towards the eastern coastline.
The Israeli army said it was “not familiar” with any missiles being fired in the Mediterranean, while saying that the missile that was tested – an Arrow 2 BMD system – is part of the Israel Hetz anti-missile system, a joint US-Israeli project.
Israel Hetz is used for defence against ballistic-missile attacks while the Iron Dome system is for defence against low-altitude rocket attacks.
Israeli media reports said the missiles was directed from bases in the Mediterranean and in the centre of Israel at 9:15am (06:15 GMT), around the same time cited by Russian state-run news agency RIA.
The Russian Defence Ministry said in a statement quoted by RIA that the launches took place at 10:16am Moscow time (06:16 GMT) on Tuesday and were detected by an early-warning system in Armavir in southern Russia.
It said Sergei Shoigu, the Russian defence minister, had already reported to President Vladimir Putin about the event, which comes amid growing expectations of Western military action in Syria.
Al Jazeera’s Paul Brennan, reporting from Jerusalem on Tuesday, said the acknowledgement by Israel was unusual.
“Its is highly unusual that Israel should be involved in this joint exercise, as it could draw Israel into the conflict,” he said.