Defense Ministry conducts missile test over central Israel

Residents report seeing white trails left behind by launch; ministry mum on nature of test but says it was pre-planned, carried out successfully

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's religions and Diaspora affairs correspondent.

Trails left behind by the launch of a rocket from a base in central Israel as part of a test on December 6, 2019. (Courtesy)
Trails left behind by the launch of a rocket from a base in central Israel as part of a test on December 6, 2019. (Courtesy)

The Defense Ministry conducted a missile test on Friday morning, launching a rocket from a military base in central Israel.

Residents of the area reported seeing a white trail left behind by the rocket.

“The defense establishment conducted a launch test a few minutes ago of a rocket propulsion system from a base in the center of the country,” the ministry said.

“The test was scheduled in advance and was carried out as planned.”

The Defense Ministry refused to comment on the nature of the rocket being tested, leading to speculation that it was a ballistic missile.

Israel does not publicly acknowledge having ballistic missiles in its arsenals, though according to foreign reports, the Jewish state possesses a nuclear-capable variety known as the Jericho that has a multi-stage engine, a 5,000-kilometer range and is capable of carrying a 1,000-kilogram warhead.

These types of tests are conducted as part of the development of several different types of projectiles, from offensive ballistic missiles to defensive interceptors and satellite launchers. Though in cases of interceptors and satellite launchers, the Defense Ministry generally reveals additional details about the nature of the test.

The rocket test required incoming flights en route to Ben Gurion Airport to be temporarily diverted.



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