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BEIRUT, Lebanon – Israel’s navy is getting new vessels which will be equipped with short- and long-range surface-to-surface missiles that will assist in any Israeli Defense Forces ground offensive toward the Gaza Strip, Lebanon or Syria, according to a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
The missiles will be available for attacks on radar facilities, bases and missile sites.
The navy has been working on its interoperability with the Israeli air force and ground forces based on lessens derived from what the Lebanese call the July War of 2006, while the Israelis refer to as the Second Lebanese War.
The range of the missiles was unspecified but the naval vessels will need to exercise caution, since the Syrians and Hezbollah in Lebanon are known to have anti-ship missiles. In the 2006 war, Hezbollah fired an anti-ship missile at the Israeli ship Hanit. It killed four sailors and caused extensive damage to the ship.
At the time, Hezbollah wasn’t assessed to have such a capability.
That missile was believed to be a C-802 acquired from Iran which in turn obtained it and others from China.
Syria recently purchased some 72 Russian Yakhont anti-ship missiles and has test-fired some of them. The Yakhont is assessed to have a range of some 300 kilometers, or 186 miles.
The Yakhont , launched from mobile vehicles, is meant to provide Syria with protection along its entire coast line from any seaborne attack. With a 200-kilogram, or 440-pound warhead, and given its range, the Yakhont also could be used against the U.S. Sixth Fleet in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.
Israel is concerned that Syria also could provide some of them to the Iranian-backed Hezbollah in Lebanon, or they could fall into the hands of the opposition or even extremists who seek to topple the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
Meantime, the Israeli navy also is concerned about the use of anti-ship missiles against its oil rigs now under construction in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. The rigs are expected to be operational sometime in 2013.
Israel and Lebanon have claims on offshore natural gas reservoirs. Each country has submitted separate claims with the United Nations, which has sided with Lebanon on certain claims, stemming from where the U.N. extended the Blue Line that separates Israel from Lebanon into the Mediterranean Sea.
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