A "Sparrow" missile.
A "Sparrow" missile. Photo by Defense Ministry
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Cyprus on Monday said a "friendly country" would be conducting missile tests in the Mediterranean this week, French news agency AFP reported, adding that the country carrying out the tests is not taking part in any potential military action against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The report comes a week after Israel and the U.S. carried out a missile test in the Mediterranean Sea, amid rising tensions in the region over the crisis in Syria.

The Arrow III missile defense system was tested with a "sparrow" missile, which simulates a ballistic missile, and is launched from a plane, during the exercise.

The exercise was carried out from an Israel Air Force base in central Israel, the Defense Ministry said in the statement.

Russia's defense ministry on Monday reprimanded Israel’s local military attache over last week’s missile test.

Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioanis Kasoulides told state radio a "friendly country" would carry out the tests from Monday to Saturday in the eastern Mediterranean. He did not name the country.

Meanwhile, AFP also reported that Cypriot Defense Minister Fotis Fotiou said on Monday the island was preparing to serve as a safe haven for those fleeing war-torn Syria.

"If Cyprus was not a safe destination it would not have chosen by other countries to evacuate their nationals here," Fotiou told reporters, according to AFP.

"We have been assured that Cyprus will not be used as a launch pad for any operation or attack [against Syria], neither is it a target, that has been made clear," Fotiou reportedly said.