For Second Time in Two Months, Israel Tests a Rocket Propulsion System

In December, a similar test launch was carried out in broad daylight, aiming to convey a clear message to Iran amid increasing tension between Jerusalem and Tehran

Israel carries out a test launch for rocket propulsion system, January 31, 2020.
Ilan Assayag

Israel tested Friday a rocket propulsion system, launched from a military base located in the center of the country.

The Defense Ministry said in a statement that the test launch was scheduled in advance and was carried out as planned from the Palmahim airbase, providing no further details.

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The experiment tested the capabilities of a propulsion system, which is meant to boost Israel's missile capabilities.

According to foreign reports, Israel has long-range surface-to-surface Jericho missiles that are capable of reaching the entire Middle East. From time to time, Israel also tests its missile defense systems, while usually providing details about those experiments.  

In December, a similar test launch was carried out in broad daylight from Palmahim, aiming to convey a clear message to Iran amid increasing tension between Jerusalem and Teheran.

Following the test launch, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif said that the test fire was of a nuclear missile, aimed at Iran.

“Israel today tested a nuke-missile, aimed at Iran,” Zarif tweeted.

Zarif added that the United States, Germany, France and the United Kingdom “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.”

Also in December, the New York Times reported Iran was building up a “hidden arsenal of short-range ballistic missiles in Iraq,” capable of reaching Israel, Saudi Arabia and U.S. troops in other parts of the region. 

This, the Times reported, was "part of a widening effort to try to intimidate the Middle East and assert its power."

Meanhwile, France, Germany and the United Kingdom said in a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that Iran was developing "nuclear-capable ballistic missiles," which they say is in violation of a Security Council resolution endorsing the 2015 nuclear deal.