Israel says carries out missile launching test

Thu Jan 17, 2008 5:55am EST

JERUSALEM Jan 17 (Reuters) - Israel carried out a missile test on Thursday, the Defence Ministry said, raising speculation the launch was part of a programme to develop longer-range weapons or improve an anti-missile defence system.

Israel Radio said the missile tested was capable of carrying an "unconventional payload". It quoted unidentified foreign reports as saying Israel was developing the Jericho III long-range surface-to-surface missile.

The radio report also noted that Israel has been carrying out tests to improve anti-missile systems aimed at intercepting both short- and long-range rockets, including Katyushas used by Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon and missiles in Iran's arsenal. (Writing by Ori Lewis; Editing by Matthew Jones)