Iran is stockpiling short-range ballistic missiles in Iraq that can reach Israel, according to a New York Times report that cited American intelligence and military officials.
The hidden rockets are part of a larger effort by Iran to intimidate countries in the region and assert its power, the Times reported. Short-range missiles generally have a range of just over 600 miles, so one fired from just outside of Baghdad could reach Jerusalem.
Iran’s effort to build up its arsenal comes as the United States has sent thousands of troops to the region with plans to send more. The arms in Iraq are reportedly intended to dissuade the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia from attacking Iran.
American intelligence officials first warned about Iranian missiles in Iraq last year, according to the report. In August, Israel launched an airstrike aimed at destroying a weapons storage facility in Iraq that was reportedly used as part of an Iranian plan to move weapons into Syria. Israel neither confirmed nor denied the airstrike at the time.
American officials say the new ballistic missiles have been secretly moved in, according to the report.