Report: Saudi Arabia directing ballistic missiles toward Israel, Iran

Images analyzed by military experts show a previously undetected surface-to-surface missile base in the Saudi desert, The Telegraph reports.

Saudi Arabia has deployed powerful ballistic missile launchers that have both Israel and Iran in the crosshairs, satellite images published in The Telegraph suggest.

The new images, which were analyzed by military experts at the IHS Jane’s Intelligence Review, show a previously undetected surface-to-surface missile base in the Saudi desert, 200 kilometers southwest of the capital, Riyadh. The base is said to be a training and a launch facility.

According to Wednesday’s report, the analysts identified two launch pads with their marks pointing at Israel and Iran, presumably targeting major cities. The platforms are meant to be used with the Saudi arsenal of truck-launched DF3 missiles, which have a range of 2,400-4,000 kilometers and therefore could reach both targeted countries.

The DF3 Chinese-made missiles, which date back to the 1980s, have the potential to carry a nuclear device, The Telegraph said. The weapons are stored in an underground storage area built into a rocky hillside.

The missiles are not remotely guided, and therefore have to be pointed in the direction of their target. The pre-planned directional markers could allow the missiles to be fired as quickly as possible, according to the report.

“One appears to be aligned on a bearing of approximately 301 degrees and suggesting a potential Israeli target, and the other is oriented along an azimuth [bearing] of approximately 10 degrees, ostensibly situated to target Iranian locations,” said the IHS Jane’s article cited by The Telegraph.

“Our assessment suggests that this base is either partly or fully operational, with the launch pads pointing in the directions of Israel and Iran respectively,” Robert Munks, deputy editor of IHS Jane’s Intelligence Review, was quoted as telling The Telegraph. “We cannot be certain that the missiles are pointed specifically at Tel Aviv and Tehran themselves, but if they were to be launched, you would expect them to be targeting major cities.”

The Saudi embassy in London did not respond to The Telegraph’s request for a comment, while the Israeli embassy told the newspaper that it has “no comment on this matter.”

By Haaretz


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