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Entries in Missiles (21)

Tuesday
May282013

Missile Strikes in Beirut Could Heat Up Syrian Conflict

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(BEIRUT) -- A rocket attack in Beirut is stirring fears that Syria's two-year conflict could drag Lebanon into a no-win situation.

On Sunday, two missiles struck a neighborhood where the militant group Hezbollah makes its headquarters.

While only four injuries were reported, it's believed the strike was a message from Syrian rebels to Hezbollah to stop supporting President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

Hezbollah has sent fighters into Syria to assist al-Assad's attempt at remaining in power. However, Sunni Muslims in Lebanon oppose their involvement, siding with rebels who seek a new government in Syria.

Nonetheless, Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has reiterated his group's commitment to help defeat his allies' enemies.

In a statement, Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby "urged the leaders of Hezbollah to reconsider their stance and not get involved in the killing in Syria, stressing that the only way to protect Lebanon...is to protect Lebanon's internal unity."

The Arab League is concerned that sectarian violence could turn Lebanon into the next Syria.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Mar082013

North Korea Claims Nuclear Missiles 'on Standby'

Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images(SEOUL, South Korea) -- A leading general in North Korea claims the country has a long-range missile armed with nuclear warheads on standby. Pyongyang repeated its Thursday vow to ditch all non-aggression pacts with South Korea and again threatened a "preemptive nuclear attack" on the United States as well.

The regime also announced early Friday that it plans to cut off phone hotlines between North and South Korea. It was part of a defiant response to tough new sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council.

Colonel General Kang Pyo-yong was quoted in North Korea's party newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, as saying his soldiers are already positioned to launch a war of reunification -- taking over South Korea -- whenever the order is given by its leaders. "Our intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and other missiles are on standby position mounted with various nuclear warheads that have been developed lighter and smaller," he announced to tens of thousands gathered Thursday at a mass rally in Pyongyang.

North Korea had claimed success in making a lighter and smaller nuclear device after testing it last month, and in December successfully launched its Unha-3 long-range rocket with enough range to reach Alaska and, perhaps, the West Coast of the United States. But weapons experts in the region have said they believe it will still be several years before the North Koreans have a nuclear warhead small enough to be carried by one of their long-range missiles.

China, North Korea's staunchest ally, joined the U.S. and other members of the Security Council to make Thursday's vote at the U.N. unanimous. This is the third round of international sanctions against the North Korean regime.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Feb152013

Pakistan Tests Short Range Nuclear-Capable Missile

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(ISLAMABAD) -- Pakistan says it has once again successfully tested a nuclear-capable missile.

In a statement, the country's military said it test fired the Hatf II (Abdali) ballistic missile on Friday "as part of the process of validation of land based ballistic missile systems."

The missile has a range of 180 kilometers and can carry "nuclear as well as conventional warheads with high accuracy."

The test comes a day after a Pakistani soldier crossed the Line of Control -- a de facto border that separates an Indian and Pakistani-controlled region -- into India.  The Pakistani military said the soldier "inadvertently" crossed the line and that the matter has been taken up with the Indian military.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jan042013

Smuggled Gaza-Bound Missiles US Made? Maybe Not

MAJDI FATHI/AFP/Getty Images(CAIRO, Egypt) -- Egyptian authorities say that the six anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles they seized from alleged smugglers headed for Gaza were of U.S. origin – but weapons proliferation experts cast doubt on the claim.

The weapons, which were intercepted in the Sinai desert, were believed to have come from Libya and to have been manufactured by U.S. firms, Egyptian security sources told reporters.

But Peter Bouckaert of Human Rights Watch, who tracked weapons in Libya after the fall of Gadhafi, said he "was not aware of any American weapons in Libya neither from the days of Gadhafi nor under the rebels."

"This is probably a misidentification of weapons systems, confusing weapons made by NATO allies such as France and Italy with U.S.-made weapons," said Bouckaert.

The U.S. State Department bans the sale and transfer of lethal defense materials to Libya.

Since the fall of Libya's longtime dictator Gadhafi at the hands of the rebels in 2011, weapons have been transferred from Libya to Gaza through the Sinai desert, though none have been documented as U.S.-made, according to Human Rights Watch. The weapons smuggled have mainly been Soviet and Warsaw Pact shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles, known as Manpads, as well as Belgian FM 2000 rifles and Russian AK-1032 rifles.

The missiles seized in the Sinai Friday reportedly have a range of up to one mile and were buried in a hole outside the city of el-Arish in the Sinai desert early Friday morning according to Ma'an.

The Sinai desert has been a main passageway for weapons smuggling into Gaza. It is dominated by Bedouin tribes and has seen a security vacuum since the Egyptian uprising in February 2011. Through a complex system of underground tunnels, Hamas, the militant Palestinian faction that rules the Gaza strip, as well as other armed groups have been able to smuggle Iranian-made long and medium-range rockets as well as raw materials to make explosives.

Last month Egyptian security forces seized 17 French-made missiles en route to Gaza, according to news reports.

There has been mounting pressure on Egypt to stymie weapons smuggling to Gaza since the ceasefire that ended the last round of hostilities between Israel and Gaza in November 2012.

Israel has imposed a blockade on the Gaza strip since 2007 which includes weapons as well as many basic goods such as food stuffs, medical supplies and stationery.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Dec142012

US to Send Two Patriot Missiles, 400 Troops to Turkey

PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images(INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey) -- The U.S. will send two Patriot missile batteries to Turkey to prevent rounds from Syria from crossing the border, the Pentagon announced on Friday.

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, who signed the order to send the missiles while en route to Turkey on Friday, said the move will help in "dealing with threats that come out of Syria."

Panetta made his remarks after landing at Incirlik Air Base, where he addressed approximately 300 men and women stationed there and thanked them for their service.

Pentagon press secretary George Little told reporters on board the flight that about 400 U.S. soldiers will be deployed to Turkey to operate the two missiles.

"We expect them to be deployed in the coming weeks," he said.

Little said "the purpose of this deployment is to signal very strongly that the United States, working closely with our NATO allies, is going to support the defense of Turkey," which he said, "is a very strong ally of the United States."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Dec042012

NATO to Announce Patriot Missile-Defense Along Turkish Border

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BRUSSELS) -- NATO is preparing to endorse a plan Tuesday setting up Patriot missile-defense batteries along some parts of the Turkish border to protect against any incursion by Syria.

The weaponry will be provided by the U.S., Germany and the Netherlands.

Ankara has been especially concerned about impending attacks from Syria due to the ongoing 20-month conflict between President Bashar al-Assad's government and rebel forces.  Relations between the two countries have been strained since Turkey has spoken out against al-Assad.

Hastening the need for a missile defense system are reports from U.S. and Israeli intelligence about activity around Syrian chemical weapons sites.

At Tuesday's expected announcement, NATO will affirm its support for Turkey from Syrian aggression and will leave it up to the Americans, Germans and Dutch to decide how long the deployment will be and the number of missiles used to defend against a potential ballistic missile attack from Syria.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov082012

Turkey's Missiles Could Create No-Flight Zone over Syria

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(ANKARA, Turkey) -- The U.S. and the rest of the West have been opposed to creating a no-fly zone over Syria, fearing the might of President Bashar al-Assad's air force despite the leader's seeming reluctance to trust many of his fighter pilots.

However, Turkey is looking into the possibility of offering help to rebel forces by lining up Patriot missile batteries along its border.

This would, in effect, create a no-fly zone at least over the northern part of Syria that includes its largest city of Aleppo, where much of the fighting between government troops and rebels has been taking place for months.

The Patriot missiles have a range of about 40 miles that would offer cover to opposition fighters in their efforts to wrest control of Syria from al-Assad after nearly 20 months of warfare that has left an estimated 35,000 people dead.

Ankara's move might also spur the West to do more as well, including creating direct links to opposition forces inside Syria.  Most of the reluctance to give aid up to now has to do with fears that Islamic militants operating in the country could be helped as well.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Sep252012

Iran Test Fires Missiles in Strait of Hormuz

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(TEHRAN, Iran) -- As U.S.-led naval maneuvers wind down in the Gulf, Iran has reportedly conducted its own drill not far away.

The country says it test fired four missiles capable of hitting ships and sunk its target in less than a minute.  The exercises, which were previously scheduled, took place in the Strait of Hormuz -- a key passage way for 20 percent of the world's oil -- and just 250 miles from where the U.S. has been conducting mine sweeping exercises.

The drill comes at a very tense time, with Israel saying Iran's nuclear program must be stopped and urging the U.S. to take a tougher line.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jul032012

Iran: 'Long-Range' Missiles Attack 'Mock Enemy Bases'

iStockphoto/Thinkstock (file photo)(TEHRAN, Iran) -- The Iranian military has launched a barrage of missiles at "mock enemy bases" as part of a major war games exercise aimed at dissuading any potential outsider attack, the nation's state-run media reported on Tuesday.

During what is called "The Great Prophet 7" drills, Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) "targeted and destroyed hypothetical bases of ultra-regional forces set up in desert areas," according to Iran's Islamic Republic News Agency.  The reports did not identify the "ultra-regional forces" but alluded to the ongoing diplomatic conflict between Iran and the U.S., which has several major military installations in the region.

"The main aim of this drill was to demonstrate the Iranian nation's political resolve to defend [its] vital values and national interests," IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami said, according to another state-run news outlet, Press TV.  Press TV paraphrased Salami's description of the drills as a "firm response to those who threaten Iran with the option of military action."

The United States and Israel have for years been locked in a struggle with Iran over its nuclear enrichment program and the leaders of both the Israeli and American governments have said that any option -- including military action -- was "on the table" should it become clear Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons.  Iranian officials have denied the nation seeks nuclear weapons and said Iran is only enriching uranium for domestic nuclear power purposes.

A day before the drills, Iran's foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi told another state media outlet, ISNA, that there is "no option" to end the nuclear conflict except a "diplomatic and political" one.  Any other option, he said, would not be sought by a "sane" person.

"We have repeatedly emphasized that we are seeking interaction and do not welcome confrontation, but if they want to act unwisely, they must be aware that the Islamic Republic of Iran will gloriously defend its integrity..." he said, according to the Tehran Times.  "However, I believe that we will not get to that point."

Press TV said that several different missile types were tested, including the Shabab-3, which reportedly has an operational range of over 900 miles, meaning it could reach potential targets throughout the Middle East.  The U.S. and its allies have several military bases in the region, including the home of the Navy's 5th Fleet in Bahrain, a little over 120 miles from Iran's southern border.  Israel's eastern border is about 600 miles from Iran's mainland.

While the Iranian news reports described some of the missiles as "long-range," none of those described are believed to have a range anywhere near what the U.S. military considers long range -- a term usually reserved for intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of hitting targets more than 3,400 miles away.

The new drills also coincided with fresh tensions that followed a new round of harsh sanctions against Iran that targeted Iran's oil exports to Europe.  Dozens of Iranian lawmakers have reportedly called on the Iranian military to shut down the Strait of Hormuz -- a narrow, strategic waterway that connects the Persian Gulf to the Arabian Sea through which an estimated one-fifth of the world's oil travels.

On Tuesday, The New York Times reported that the U.S. military has quietly strengthened its presence near the Strait of Hormuz as a precaution against such an action.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Apr262012

North Korea’s Missiles Are Fakes, Analysts Say

Pedro Ugarte/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- North Korea tried to flex its military might with an extravagant parade on April 15, just three days after it admitted that its missile test had been a failure, but analysts now say that the new intercontinental ballistic missiles on display in the meticulously choreographed parade were nothing more than props.

The analysts studied photos of the six missiles and came to their conclusion for three primary reasons:

1. The missiles did not fit the launchers that carried them.

2. The missiles appear to be made out of both liquid-fuel and solid-fuel components that are unable to fly together.

3. The casings on the missiles undulate which suggests the metal is not thick enough to hold up during flight.

“There is no doubt that these missiles were mock-ups,” Markus Schiller and Robert Schmucker, of Germany’s Schmucker Technologie, wrote in a paper recently posted on Armscontrolwonk.com. “It remains unknown if they were designed this way to confuse foreign analysts, or if the designers simply did some sloppy work.”

The unveiling of the missiles received international attention during a week of celebrations that marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of North Korea’s founder, Kim Il Sung. David Wright, co-director of global security at the Union of Concerned Scientists, says attention is exactly what North Korea wanted.

“We’ve seen them play this game before. This kind of trying to manipulate in order to exaggerate your military force is certainly not anything new,” Wright told ABC News. “We don’t know if there is actually something behind it. We don’t know whether they have simply put out mock-ups to suggest they are further along than they are. We don’t know how far along they are beyond that.”

Wright believes that because of the type of missile North Korea unveiled and the fact that the country has performed few flight tests “the missile program is at a fairly early stage.”

“Without flight tests it’s very hard to develop long range missiles,” Wright said. “While they may be working on things the program is not progressing terribly fast.”

Schiller and Schmucker agree, calling North Korea’s display a “dog and pony show,” and arguing that “there is still no evidence that North Korea actually has a functional ICBM.”

North Korea’s history of ICBM testing has been one of failure. Since 1998, it has launched four ICBM-style rockets, and not one has been a success.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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