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Friday, March 27, 2009

Israel test fires anti-missile Iron Dome

Fri, 27 Mar 2009 06:06:56 GMT | PressTV

Tel Aviv says it has completed a series of test fires over an anti-missile system developed to intercept short- and medium-range rockets.

The Israeli Defense Ministry said Thursday it carried out several "successful" test launches over the past two days and the system managed to locate, track and intercept the rockets in flight, whether fired singly or simultaneously,

The missile system, named Iron Dome can destroy rockets with a range of up to 70 kilometers (43 miles), Israel's Channel Ten reported.

During the test, a number of rockets were launched, "of the same type that were fired in recent years at Israel," and the Iron Dome system responded "accordingly," the ministry said.

The system would become operational in 2010 when the first batch is delivered to the Israeli air force.

Iron Dome was the target of an annual report by the Israeli corruption watchdog who accused the Defense Ministry of wasting time and money on the missile shield system which is to protect Israel from rockets which still keep striking the southern towns from the Gaza Strip.

The report presented to Knesset (parliament) earlier this month accused the defense ministry of lack of coordination and a flawed decision-making process which has hampered efforts to develop an effective anti-missile system.

"Huge sums have been wasted because of hazardous decisions for the development of an anti-rocket defense system over the past eight years," said State Comptroller Micha Lindenstraus.

The Israeli Army also came under fire by Lindentrauss over its failure to take into consideration all of the operational possibilities when devising plans for developing the system.

Tel Aviv launched a three-week offensive to stop rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip in December. Operation Cast Lead, which left over 1,300 Palestinians killed and thousands of others injured, eventually failed to stop rocket attacks from the strip.

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