Less than a week after the conclusion of Operation Pillar of Defense, and with Hamas boasting of an imminent increase in military aid from Iran, Israeli satellites have spotted a ship at the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas being loaded with rockets and other military supplies ostensibly bound for Gaza, the British Sunday Times reported.
The report cites Israeli intelligence sources who surmised that the cargo, loaded a week ago, would be shipped to Sudan and from there smuggled over land to Gaza.
According to the report, the cargo may include Fajr-5 rockets of the likes already fired by Hamas during the recent conflict, and whose stocks were reportedly depleted by Israeli bombings. Also possibly included: components of Shahab-3 ballistic missiles, which could be stationed in Sudan and used as a direct threat to Israel.
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US aircraft carrier strikeforce readies in case of war with Iran
When the aircraft carrier USS John C Stennis returns to the placid blue waters of the Gulf with her strike force of 70 jets in the next few days, she will be ready for action off the coast of Iran.
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America acted to shore up its naval and Marine forces in the region. Washington gave its approval for NATO to post Patriot anti-missile batteries in Turkey opposite the Syrian border together with advanced AWACs electronic warning aircraft. Both weapons systems are to be manned by US military crews.
Next, the USS Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group took up position opposite the Israeli and Syrian shores, adding another section to the menacing ring forming around Syria.
Moscow, Iran and Damascus, for their part, decided that the same coalition that laid a trail of disaster for its allies in the Gaza Strip, Hamas and Jihad Islami, were now about to pounce on Iran’s best friend, Bashar Assad, by moves to enforce protected asylums and no-fly zones in Syria.
In Tehran and Moscow, the Gaza offensive was not perceived as a lone Israeli operation but rather as the ground-breaker for a broader offensive by the US, Turkey and Qatar and the product of their combined intelligence brains rather than of military war planners.
Iran had been systematically building up the Gaza Strip as its “southern front” to fight enemies who attacked its nuclear facilities.
The obliteration of a large portion of the military infrastructure Hamas and Jihad Islam had accumulated left this plan in shambles.
Moscow and Tehran fully expect Washington to next turn the attention of the intelligence team which engineered the dashing of Iran’s hopes in Gaza to Syria and Hizballah, exploiting Tehran’s momentary weakness.
Moscow reacted by posting the Russian Black Sea Fleet’s naval task force opposition the Gaza, i.e. Israeli coast Friday, Nov. 11, purportedly to rescue distressed Russian citizens “should the Israeli-Palestinian fighting worsen in Gaza.”
Their arrival was announced Nov. 23, two days after a ceasefire went into effect in Gaza.
The Russian task force includes the missile cruiser Moskva, the destroyer Smetlivy, the large landing ships Novocherkassk and Saratov, the tugboat MB-304 and the large oil tanker Ivan Bubnov.
WHAT’S NEXT IN IDF BAG OF TRICKS? ‘MAGIC WAND’
‘Critical’ test on interceptor missile scheduled to take place in Negev in coming days
(YNetNews) The IDF is gearing for a critical test of the Magic Wand system, which has been designed to intercepted short-to-medium range missiles in the backdrop of the Iron Dome’s success during Operation Pillar of Defense, The Boston Globe reported Saturday. Israel has yet to confirm or deny the report.
According to the newspaper, the test is set to take place in the Negev in the coming days. Magic Wand, also known as David’s Sling, is being developed by Israeli and American engineers at Rafael and Raytheon Co.
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Raytheon working on the ‘Stunner’ missile defense system for Israel to complement their ‘Iron Dome’
Unlike the ‘Iron dome’, the ‘Stunner’ has more options and will be able to target larger and faster missiles:
The technology “is designed to defeat a variety of short-range ballistic missiles, large caliber rockets and cruise missiles,” according to Raytheon.
Israel may strike at ship allegedly carrying Iranian rockets to Gaza – report