By Dan Williams and Steve Gutterman JERUSALEM/MOSCOW (Reuters) - Israel tested a U.S.-backed missile system in the Mediterranean on Tuesday but did not announce the launch in advance, prompting a disclosure by Russia that kept the world on edge as the United States weighed an attack on Syria. The morning launch was first reported by Moscow media that quoted Russian defense officials as saying two ballistic "objects" had been fired eastward from the center of the sea - roughly in the direction of Syria. The news ruffled financial markets until Israel's Defence Ministry said that it, along with a Pentagon team, had carried out a test-launch of a Sparrow missile. The Sparrow, which simulates the long-range missiles of Syria and Iran, is used for target practice by Israel's U.S.-backed ballistic shield Arrow. "Israel routinely fires missiles or drones off its shores to test its own ballistic defense capabilities," a U.S. official said in Washington. Western naval forces have been gathering in the Mediterranean and the Red Sea since President Bashar al-Assad was accused of carrying out an August 21 gas attack in his more than two-year-old conflict with rebels trying to topple him. Damascus denies responsibility for the incident. U.S. President Barack Obama had been widely expected to order reprisal strikes on Syria last week but put them off to seek support from Washington lawmakers first. With U.S. action on Syria delayed as Obama confers with Congress, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has sought to play up the Jewish state's ability to deal with its foes alone. On Tuesday, the rightist premier spoke of anti-missile systems as a national "wall of iron". "These things give us the power to protect ourselves, and anyone who considers harming us would do best not to," he said in a speech. Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon shrugged off a question from reporters on whether the launch might have been ill-timed. He said Israel had to work to maintain its military edge and "this necessitates field trials and, accordingly, a successful trial was conducted to test our systems. And we will continue to develop and to research and to equip the IDF (Israel Defence Forces) with the best systems in the world." Arrow designer Uzi Rabin said tests of the anti-missile system are planned "long, long in advance" and generally go unnoticed. "What apparently made the difference today is the high state of tension over Syria and Russia's unusual vigilance," he told Reuters. A Russian Defence Ministry spokesman quoted by the Interfax news agency said the launch was picked up by an early warning radar station at Armavir, near the Black Sea, which is designed to detect missiles from Europe and Iran. RIA, another Russian news agency, later quoted a source in Syria's "state structures" as saying the objects had fallen harmlessly into the sea. The Russian Defence Ministry declined comment to Reuters. Moscow is Assad's big-power ally and has mobilized its own navy in the face of U.S. military preparations to punish the Syrian government for its alleged killing of more than 1,400 people in the chemical strike in an embattled Damascus suburb. OUTSIDE INTERVENTION Russia opposes any outside military intervention in Syria's civil war and says it suspects the gassings were staged by rebels seeking foreign involvement in the conflict. Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu informed President Vladimir Putin of the launch but it was not immediately clear how he reacted. Brent crude oil extended gains to rise by more than $1 per barrel and Dubai's share index fell after Russia said it detected the launches. Five U.S. destroyers and an amphibious ship are in the Mediterranean, poised for possible strikes against Syria with cruise missiles - which are not ballistic. U.S. officials said the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz and four other ships in its strike group moved into the Red Sea on Monday. "The pressure being applied by the United States causes particular concern," Itar-Tass quoted Russian Defence Ministry official Oleg Dogayev as saying. He said "the dispatch of ships armed with cruise missiles toward Syria's shores has a negative effect on the situation in the region". The United States sees its underwriting of the Arrow as a means of reassuring Israel and, by extension, of reducing the chance that its ally might launch unilateral attacks on Syria or Iran that could destabilize the wider region. Netanyahu has reluctantly supported U.S.-led diplomatic efforts to curb Iran's nuclear program. He has been circumspect about the Western showdown with Syria, worrying that should Assad fall to Islamist-led rebels, they could prove more hostile to the Jewish state. (Writing by Steve Gutterman and Dan Williams, Editing by Timothy Heritage/Mark Heinrich)
Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting
- The Daily Beast
U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New YorkWhen the feds raided Jeffrey Epstein’s Manhattan mansion in 2019, they unearthed a trove of evidence including binders of CDs containing tens of thousands of photographs.Some of those never-before-seen images—released by federal prosecutors this week—depicted happier days of the late sex-trafficker’s romance with his alleged accomplice, British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, who is accused of helping him groom and abuse four underage girl
- In The Know by Yahoo
TikTok users issue dire warning after woman's shocking basement discovery: 'Why would you share this online?'
Definitely not an everyday thing.
Skilyr Hicks, who at age 14 impressed the judges of America’s Got Talent with her performance of an original song and poignant story of losing her father, died Monday in Liberty, South Carolina. She was 23. Her death was confirmed by her younger sister Breelyn Hicks in a Facebook post this morning. Earlier, TMZ reported […]
Faith Hill and Tim McGraw are taking on one of their biggest career challenges ever as a couple in the upcoming Yellowstone prequel, 1883. But a new People magazine cover has fans talking about Faith Hill’s looks instead of the series — and the comments are pretty rude. The stunning photo shows Hill and McGraw locked in an […]
- Yahoo Celebrity
Jennifer Aniston on 'being bullied' for vaccine stance: 'I don't understand the disconnect right now'
In a new interview, the"Morning Show" star discusses her career, the tabloids, social media, haters of her vaccine stance and the "jarring" "Friends" reunion.
- Footwear News
On Tuesday, Jeff Bezos' girlfriend, Lauren Sánchez took to her Instagram stories to share two new photos. The media personality posed alongside her son, Nikko Gonzalez in a black blazer dress.
- NBC News
A scuba diving YouTuber may have cracked the cold case of two Tennessee teens who disappeared 21 years ago after discovering the car they were last seen in at the bottom of a river.
Jennifer Aniston Calls Pregnancy Rumors 'Hurtful': 'You Have No Clue What's Going with Me Personally'
"I used to take it all very personally — the pregnancy rumors and the whole 'Oh, she chose career over kids' assumption," Jennifer Aniston said
- Yahoo Life
The 57-year-old model is kicking back!
- NBC Sports
Chelsea drew 3-3 away at Zenit St. Petersburg as a last-gasp equalizer from the Russians denied the Blues top spot in Group H and gave them a much tougher route in the UEFA Champions League last 16.
- UGA Wire
Fox Sports college football analyst Joel Klatt disagrees with the order of the final College Football Playoff rankings.
- Fox News
Cast members of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” stepped out in their best dress at the People's Choice Awards on Tuesday and fans couldn't get enough of Dorit Kemsley's revealing number.
Title challenger Max Verstappen has been bullied by seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes team this season, former Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has told AFP.
- USA TODAY Sports
“After being separated for almost a year, Molly (Qerim) and I have officially decided to go out separate ways,” Jalen Rose said on social media.
Christina Aguilera channeled the 'Dirrty' music video look 19 years later at the People's Choice Awards
Christina Aguilera wore black and yellow chaps and a bodysuit for her performance of "Dirrty" at the People's Choice Awards on Tuesday.
- The Daily Beast
REUTERSAfter Jussie Smollett spilled all the tea he could on Monday, Special Prosecutor Dan Webb put the focus back on the attack on the Empire star that the actor allegedly staged in a brutal cross examination on Tuesday.Webb, a lawyer’s lawyer who nailed corrupt judges and cops when he served as the U.S. attorney for the district including Chicago and who prosecuted Ronald Reagan’s national security adviser and deposed the president as special counsel in the Iran-Contra affair, shifted the foc
- Celtics Wire
New ESPN trade proposal sees Damian Lillard dealt to Celtics WITHOUT giving up Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart or Robert Williams III
We don't expect this offer to be on the table, but if it were, we expect it would be welcomed by Boston's front office.
- The Weather Network
Snowfall warnings and special weather statements are in effect on the East Coast as the region braces for a major snowstorm Wednesday night and Thursday.
- NBC Sports Boston
Here's the latest update on Bruins forward Jake Debrusk's market about a week after his trade request went public.
Kate's parents and siblings, as well as other members of the royal family, are all in attendance