A spaceship flying over Israel? A satellite or a Russian ballistic missile? An unidentified flying object observed in Middle East countries Thursday night has caused panic, with people calling the police to say they witnessed a UFO.
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The mysterious shining object seen in the skies swirled around and looked like smoke, some observers said. The object gave off light and was followed by a smoke trail.
The strange flying phenomenon was also reported in Georgia, Armenia, Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and other countries in the region.
The Israeli Defense Forces made a statement following the incident saying they were unaware of any operations in the area.
Some astronomical experts conjectured that the object was a satellite that had exploded in orbit, the Times of Israel reports. The newspaper also quoted a Lebanese report suggesting that the flying item was the remains of a meteorite, with its smashed pieces creating a dust trail that glowed behind it.
Prominent Israeli astronomer Dr. Yigal Pat-El, who is chairman of the Israeli Astronomical Association and an observatory director, told the Ediot Ahronot newspaper it is quite possible that the object was a ballistic missile.
"It most likely spun out of control and its remnants and the fuel was what people saw. It reached a height of 200-300 kilometers and that's why it was seen from so many locations," he told the newspaper.
Mr. Pat-El also said it was not a meteor: “It looked like a small body that suddenly started to grow and make spiral-like movements."
"After a while, it turned into a cloud….it looked like an object flying high above ground and then disintegrating," he added.
Suspicions that the shining flying object could be a missile were further fuelled by a Russian Defense Ministry statement saying the country had successfully test-fired a Topol strategic intercontinental ballistic missile. . . .
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