Message to Iran? Israel tests rocket system capable of carrying nuclear warheads

Illustrative (AP/John Raoux)

Israeli media say the timing of the rocket test might have been a signal to Iran.

By World Israel News Staff

Israel tested a missile propulsion system on Friday morning capable of carrying defensive missiles such as the Arrow 3 or offensive, ground-to-ground missiles such as the Jericho 3.

“The defense establishment conducted a launch test a few minutes ago of a rocket motor system from a base in the center of the country,” the defense ministry said. “The test was scheduled in advance and was carried out as planned.”

The missile launched from the Palmachim base. Ben-Gurion International Airport diverted landings and takeoffs for a short period in order to enable the safe firing of the rocket launch system.

The missile could potentially launch the aforementioned Jericho 3, which is said to have a range of 2,000 miles and capable of carrying nuclear warheads. Foreign media report that Israel is developing yet another version, a Jericho 4.

Israeli media reports that although the launch was planned ahead of time, it’s impossible to ignore the timing, which comes at the height of tensions between Israel and Iran.

Giving credence to this possibility were comments made by Israeli Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz to Italian paper Corriere della Sera on Saturday.

When asked if bombing Iran was an option, Katz said, “Yes, it is an option. We will not allow Iran to produce or obtain nuclear weapons. If it were the last possible way to stop this, we would act militarily.”

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif tweeted on Friday, “Israel today tested a nuke-missile, aimed at Iran.”

He said that the U.S., Germany, France and the U.K. “never complain about the only nuclear arsenal in West Asia – armed with missiles actually DESIGNED to be capable of carrying nukes – but has fits of apoplexy over our conventional & defensive ones.”

David Isaac: