The Israeli Defense Ministry said that it carried out a joint missile test with the U.S. in the Mediterranean Sea Tuesday morning. The test comes amid heightened tensions as Washington -- which has warships on standby in the region -- considers launching military strikes against Syria and the government of President Bashar al-Assad. The U.S. says Assad's regime launched a chemical attack last month in the suburbs of Damascus that resulted in nearly 1,500 deaths.
Russian state-owned news agencies had earlier reported that Russian radar systems detected two "ballistic objects" fired from the central Mediterranean toward the eastern part of the sea.
Israel said it carried out the successful test of a Sparrow missile, which was used as a target in a U.S.-funded anti-missile system known as the Arrow 2 Ballistic Missile Defense. The Defense Ministry said Tuesday that it, together with the U.S. Defense Department, had carried out a "successful test" in the Mediterranean and on an air force base in central Israel.
However, U.S. military offiicals told NBC News that the U.S. did not fire any missiles. In fact, the Pentagon said the test was "long planned" to evaluate the Arrow Ballistic Missile Defense system.
"This test had nothing to do with United States consideration of military action to respond to Syria's chemical weapons attack," Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said in a statement.
Israeli officials have been careful about voicing their thoughts on how the U.S. should respond in Syria.
But Israeli President Shimon Peres said in a radio interview on Monday that he had "full faith in President Obama's moral and operational stance."
"I recommend patience," Peres said. "I am confident that the United States will respond in the right way to Syria."
On Monday Assad described the Middle East as a "powder keg" and said the region would "explode" if the U.S. and its allies executed a military strike on Syria.