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Iran tests missiles, unveils drone amid Israel tensions

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TEHRAN (AFP): Iran has tested anti-air and anti-ship missiles and unveiled a new drone, its powerful Revolutionary Guards said Monday, in a show of military readiness for a war with Israel their chief says is inevitable.

Medium-range surface-to-air missiles designed to knock attacking aircraft out of the sky at a range of 50 kilometres were successfully fired on Monday, the Guards said in a statement on their official Sepahnews website.

The new, Taer-2 missiles were part of an anti-air defence system known as Ra'ad (Thunder), the statement said.

The Fars news agency called the domestically made missiles "more advanced" than the Russian-made Buk family of missiles they were based on.

Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi, the commander of the Guards' navy, also said that on Sunday a naval drill was held in which four missiles hit a warship-sized target, sinking it in 50 seconds, according to Fars.

"We have missile systems that cover all the Persian Gulf coasts and the American bases (in the region)," he was quoted as saying.

He added that the Revolutionary Guards would in the next six months hold "big naval manoeuvres in the Strait of Hormuz," the strategic, narrow channel at the Gulf's entrance through which a third of the world's seaborne traded oil passes.

Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the commander of the Guards' aerospace division charged with missile defence, also announced a new drone, dubbed Shahed 129, with a range of 2,000 kilometres.

"It is able to carry bombs and missiles... it has the ability to fly non-stop for 24 hours, it does surveillance," Fars quoted him as saying. State television showed images of the unmanned aircraft.

On Saturday, the head of the Revolutionary Guards, General Mohammad Ali Jafari, said war between Iran and Israel "will eventually happen, but it is not certain where and when."

It was the first time a senior Iranian official had acknowledged the probability of war breaking out between the two arch-foes.

Israel in recent weeks has ratcheted up its threats to possibly launch air strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities, with or without help from its US ally.

Iran's Revolutionary Guards commanders have said they would view any Israeli attack as being carried out with US authorisation, and warned they would hit US military bases in Afghanistan, Qatar and Bahrain in retaliation.

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Iran  Missile  Drone  Israel  
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