Report: Saudi Arabia targeting Iran, Israel with Chinese missiles

(JTA) — Saudi Arabia has built a secret missile base targeting Iran and Israel, according to an analysis of satellite photos.

The analysis by IHS Jane’s Intelligence Review shows two launch pads at the Al-Watah base, situated 125 miles southwest of Riyadh. The pads have markings pointing northwest towards Tel Aviv and northeast towards Tehran, the London-based defense magazine reported on its website on Wednesday.

Anat Cohen at The Sheldon

According to the magazine, the launch pads are designed for Saudi Arabia’s arsenal of Chinese DF 3 missiles, which have a range of 1,500-2,500 miles and can carry a two-ton warhead.

The base is believed to have been built within the last five years and was discovered during IHS Jane’s update of their assessment of Saudi Arabia’s military capabilities.

It serves as both a training and launch facility, with the missiles stored in an underground silo built into a rocky hillside, according to the analysis. To the north of the facility are two circle-shaped launch pads, both with compass-style markings showing the precise direction that the launchers should fire in.

“One appears to be aligned on a bearing of approximately 301 degrees and suggesting a potential Israeli target, and the other is oriented along an azimuth (bearing) of approximately 10 degrees, ostensibly situated to target Iranian locations,” said the IHS Jane’s article.

Officials at the Saudi Embassy in London did reply to requests for comment by The Daily Telegraph.

Saudi Arabia, a Sunni kingdom and leader in the Arab world, has urged the United States to strike Iran to keep it from acquiring nuclear weapons, according to U.S. diplomatic correspondence which was leaked in 2010.

There have been no hostilities between Israel and Saudi Arabia since Israel’s Independence War ended in 1949.

Analysts quoted by the Telegraph suggested that the missiles pointed at Israel were likely placed to deflect accusations that the Saudis were solely preoccupied with hostilities with another Muslim nation, and with the understanding that the existence of the launch pads would eventually come to light.

Like Israel, Saudi Arabia has purchased tens of billions worth of advanced military equipment from the United States.