A recent crisis in Israeli-Russian relations was sparked by Moscow's bid to sell Syria missiles capable of striking at nearly any target within Israel, the Moscow daily Kommersant reported Wednesday. It said the Iskander-E missile places nearly all of Israel within reach, including the nuclear reactor site outside Dimona.
According to Haaretz, Israel has briefed the Bush administration on the crisis with Russia.
Meanwhile, tension is mounting in Israel ahead of Syrian President Bashar Assad's first visit to Moscow, on January 24. Assad will meet with Russia's President Vladimir Putin and discuss bilateral cooperation in various fields. Putin is scheduled to meet with U.S. President George W. Bush about a month later in Slovakia.
The Iskander is a relatively new weapons systems, having been developed in the 1990s. Two years ago, Damascus sought to purchase 18 of the systems, but the matter was delayed by final testing of the missile. The tests were completed in August.