Iran simulates strike on Israeli base as it showcases naval force

The display is seen as a clear message to Israel and the US as the war in Gaza spreads tensions across the region.

Iranian speed boats are now being equipped with short-range missiles capable of hitting vessels at sea. [File: Vahid Salemi/AP]By Maziar MotamediPublished On 13 Feb 202413 Feb 2024

Tehran, Iran – Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has simulated a strike on a major Israeli airbase, making a show of its naval capabilities.

Footage aired by state television on Tuesday showed that the IRGC fired a range of munitions from ships and submarines. The wargame appears a clear message as Israel’s war on Gaza escalates and tensions rise across the region.

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The footage showed that the IRGC launched missiles from two locations at a re-creation of the Palmachim airbase in Israel. The base is a critical operations centre for the war on Gaza. It has fighter jets in multiple hangars and receives wounded Israeli soldiers for treatment.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced at Palmachim last month that Tel Aviv will not hesitate to attack Iran.

A large number of at least two variants of long-range ballistic missiles, Emad and Qadr, were shown being launched and hitting targets with a claimed precision of under 4 metres (13ft). State television called Palmachim in central Israel the “largest airbase of the Zionist regime in occupied territories”.

IRGC commander-in-chief Hossein Salami said the force for the first time has succeeded in launching long-range ballistic missiles from a warship.

“This new achievement increases the range of our naval influence and power to any desired location because our ocean-traversing warships can be at any point in the oceans,” he said. “There will be no safe place for any power that wants to create insecurity for us.”

Translation: Firing a Dezful ballistic missile from the Shahid Mahdavi warship in a container launch.

Footage carried by state television showed two long-range ballistic missiles being launched from the Shahid Mahdavi, a multi-purpose warship capable of carrying a variety of missiles, drones and radar systems.

The missiles, which have a claimed range of at least 1,700km (1,056 miles), were reportedly launched from somewhere in the Sea of Oman and hit targets in a desert in central Iran.

The IRGC also displayed speed boats, catamarans and submarines in action with short-range missiles launched by the former. There was no official confirmation, but the missile appears to be a variant of the Qaem, the Iranian equivalent of the US-made Hellfire missile.

The IRGC also showed missiles being launched from its two recently unveiled catamarans that are capable of firing antiship cruise missiles.

A torpedo launched from a submarine was shown to hit a ship. A new kamikaze drone was briefly shown being launched, which appeared to have similarities with the Lancet drones developed by Russia.

The display comes as the Houthis in Yemen, which Washington says are armed by Iran, disrupt global trade through the Red Sea.

The Yemeni group is considered part of the “axis of resistance”, an informal, Iran-led political and military coalition in West Asia and North Africa that challenges the United States and its allies.

In a post on X on Monday, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian threatened “severe consequences” for Israel if it goes through with its plan for a ground invasion of Rafah in southern Gaza, where 1.4 million Palestinians have been displaced.

The Iranian diplomat was in Qatar on Tuesday in a regional tour that has taken him to Lebanon and Syria as well. He said Tehran does not want the war to get out of hand and called for a ceasefire on a trip during which he met with regional and “axis of resistance” leaders.

Source: Al Jazeera