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Israel’s Navy Trains to Defend Mediterranean Gas Rigs from Hezbollah Attack

© AFP 2023 / AHIKAM SERI An aerial view taken on July 30, 2015 shows the Tamar Israeli gas-drill platform in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Israel
An aerial view taken on July 30, 2015 shows the Tamar Israeli gas-drill platform in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Israel - Sputnik International
The Israeli Navy has successfully completed a military drill that simulated two possible ways Hezbollah might attack gas exploration and extraction systems in Israel’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

The Israeli Navy's first scenario included a drone simulating a cruise missile fired by the enemy at a gas rig. According to the Jerusalem Post, the airborne target was successfully discovered and destroyed by the Barak-8 air defense system fired from an unnamed Sa'ar 4.5-class missile boat.

The ship has reportedly been upgraded with new detection, observation and electronic warfare systems, including a new radar which is said to greatly improve the ship's detection and tracking capabilities.

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The IDF said this was the first time the upgraded ship has been used in its new configuration, Israel Defense reports.

According to Hamodia, such ships are stationed near platforms in the Tamar and Leviathan gas fields, off Israel's Mediterranean coast.

The second simulation involved a seaborne enemy ship violating Israel's EEZ. The target was destroyed by a pair of cruise missiles launched by the Sa'ar 5-class corvettes INS Lahav and INS Yachid.

The Jerusalem Post quotes an unnamed senior naval officer saying that the Lebanese Hezbollah political and paramilitary organization might want to attack the gas rigs using precision ballistic missiles received from Iran. Hamodia also names Syria as a possible attacker.

"We believe that Hezbollah has the ability to strike any spot in our waters," the officer said in an interview February.

Earlier that month, Hezbollah did actually threaten to attack Israel's gas operations with missiles. Both Lebanon and Israel claim a part of each other's EEZ because of the region's rich gas reserves.

"Whoever harms gas and oil sites in Lebanese economic waters — their own sites will be harmed, and they know Lebanon is fully capable of doing so," one of Lebanese flyers disseminated in February says.

According to the Post, around 60 percent of Israel's electricity comes from gas extracted in the EEZ, which was expanded outward from 40 miles to 200 miles from the coast in 2014, and this figure is about to increase to 75 percent soon.

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