Israel secretly tested an anti-missile defense system in coordination with U.S. officials, Israel's Channel 2 reported Monday night. A Russian radar station on the Black Sea coast spotted two ballistic launches. Hours later, Israel officially announced it had launched two "Sparrow" target missiles.
The following day both the Israeli and U.S. military attaches were summoned separately to Russia's Defense Ministry and reprimanded, the Israeli television reported. An Israeli army spokesman said the military would not comment on internal discussions in diplomatic channels, Haaretz said.
The Russian Defense Ministry objected strongly, saying Israel was "playing with arms and missiles" in a "volatile" region, the Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported.
The news agency quoted an unnamed Israeli official as saying the missile test was a joint Israeli-American maneuver to test Israel's missile defense system.
"Is there any other region more volatile and packed with weapons today? I don't completely understand how someone could play with arms and missiles in that region today," Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov told reporters at a press conference in Moscow a day after the missile test, the RIA Novosti said.
"The Mediterranean is a powder keg. A match is enough for a fire to break out and possibly spread not only to neighboring states but to other world regions as well. I remind you that the Mediterranean is close to the borders of the Russian Federation," he said.
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