Israel successfully completed testing of its Iron Dome missile defense system and plans to have it in operation by November, the Defense Ministry said.
“This is an important milestone for the security establishment and the defense industry,” Defense Minister Ehud Barak said in a statement today.
Israel declared the test stage complete after the short- to medium-range system shot down a large number of incoming projectiles simultaneously, according to the Defense Ministry statement. The country developed the system over two years.
President Barack Obama, as part of the U.S. promise to guarantee Israel’s security, this year pledged $205 million for the deployment of Iron Dome, which is intended to defend Israel against rocket fire from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip and Lebanon. The pledge went beyond the annual $3 billion the U.S. provides Israel in military assistance.
Hezbollah, a Lebanese Shiite Muslim militia, fired rockets from southern Lebanon during a 33-day war with Israel in 2006. About 1,200 Lebanese and 159 Israelis were killed in the fighting, which also displaced almost 1 million people.
Israel began a three-week military offensive in Gaza in December 2008 that it said was meant to stop the firing of rockets by Hamas and other Palestinian militants into its territory. More than 1,000 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed in the conflict.
More than 400 rockets and mortars have been fired from Gaza into Israel since the end of the war, killing a foreign worker, the Israeli army said. Israeli bombing and ground operations during the offensive destroyed more than 3,000 homes, and Israel’s restrictions on construction materials have prevented Palestinians from being able to rebuild, the United Nations said.