September 03, 2013 - MIDDLE EAST - Israel says it has carried out a joint missile test with the U.S. in the Mediterranean Sea amid heightened tensions as Washington weighs sea-launched strikes against Syria.
The Defense Ministry said Tuesday that it, together with the U.S. Defense Department, had carried out a "successful test" in the Mediterranean and on an air force base in central Israel.
Russian state-owned news agencies earlier said Russian radar systems had detected two "ballistic objects" fired from the central Mediterranean toward the eastern part of the sea.
The United States, which has warships in the Mediterranean, is considering strikes against Syria for an Aug. 21 alleged chemical weapons attack in a Damascus suburb. - AP.
WATCH: Israel & US joint missile test in Mediterranean sparks Syria strike alarm.
Russia Detects Two Missiles Fired Over Mediterranean.
Russia has announced that its missile early warning system detected the launch of two missiles from the central part of the Mediterranean Sea fired towards the sea's eastern coastline, and later confirmed in an Israel statement by Reuters news agency.
Israel initially denied knowledge of the missile launch, but soon after said in a statement to Reuters that it had carried out one joint missile test with the US, of an "anchor" target missile used in anti-missile systems, the news agency reported on Tuesday.
Israel said it carried out a test of a missile, used as a target in a US-funded anti-missile system, in the Mediterranean at (9:15am) 06:15GMT, around the same time quoted by Russian state-run news agency, RIA.
The launches took place at 06:16GMT (10:16am Moscow time) and were detected by the early warning system in Armavir in southern Russia, the defence ministry said in a statement quoted by RIA.
It said Sergei Shoigu, 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.
Russia Says The United States Is Fueling Tension By Deploying Warships Near Syria.
Russia criticized the United states on Tuesday for sending warships close to Syria, saying the deployments would exacerbate tension as Washington prepares for a possible military strike.
"The pressure being applied by the United States causes particular concern," Russian Defense Ministry official Oleg Dogayev was quoted as saying by the state-run Itar-Tass news agency.
He said "the dispatch of ships armed with cruise missiles toward Syria's shores has a negative effect on the situation in the region."
Five U.S. destroyers and an amphibious ship are in the Mediterranean, poised for possible cruise missile strikes against Syria, and U.S. officials said the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz and four other ships in its strike group moved into the Red Sea on Monday.
Russia, one of the Syrian government's main arms suppliers, opposes military intervention over an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria. Moscow is also sending new warships to the Mediterranean but says it is just rotating ships in the area. - Reuters.