Free Headline Alerts     
Worldwide Web


Monday, March 28, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Israel cautiously deploys Iron Dome to counter renewed attacks from Gaza

TEL AVIV — Israel, plagued by renewed attacks from the Gaza Strip, has pledged to launch operational deployment of its new missile defense system.


The government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu intends to begin deployment of the Iron Dome missile and rocket defense system. Officials acknowledged that the deployment would be initial and not ensure protection from missile, mortar and rocket fire by Palestinian gunners in the Gaza Strip.

"This is the first battery, and every additional battery that we get will join this system," Defense Minister Ehud Barak said. "However, the full deployment would take several years and involve significant budgets."

Also In This Edition

On March 27, the Israeli military said the operational trial of Iron Dome began in the south near the city of Beersheba, Middle East Newsline reported. The military did not say if or when the system would be deployed.

"It's important to keep in mind that the Iron Dome is only in its preliminary, testing stages such that citizens must continue following the Home Front Command's instructions on how to stay protected," Home Front Command chief Maj. Gen. Yair Golan said.

Officials did not explain what the government meant by an operational trial of the first Iron Dome battery. The Israel Air Force has received two batteries of Iron Dome, designed to intercept short-range projectiles of the type fired by Hamas and its Palestinian militia allies. The United States has pledged $205 million for the Israeli procurement of what could be another eight Iron Dome batteries.

"The battery will be deployed in the south, being moved from time to time according to operational needs," Barak said. "The system can fire back if fired at but it's important to remember that Iron Dome is still not fool-proof."

Iron Dome, designed by the state-owned Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, had been scheduled for initial deployment in October 2010. But the plan was delayed amid reports of technical faults as well as training deficiencies.

"Iron Dome is still in the experimental stage and we do not have the possibility of deploying batteries to protect every home, school, base and installation," Netanyahu said. "The true answer to the missile threat is a combination of aggressive and deterrent measures, protective measures and a strong stand by the government and the public."

Military sources said the General Staff as well as the Defense Ministry have sought to delay deployment of Iron Dome. They said the military brass was concerned that Hamas would fire missiles to determine Iron Dome's vulnerability.

"The IDF stresses that the Iron Dome will not be used consistently and will be moved around according what the situation necessitates," the military said. "The deployment will not be permanent, allowing the systems to be moved between areas according to evolving security assessments."

About Us     l    Privacy     l     l
Copyright © 2011    East West Services, Inc.    All rights reserved.