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Israel to deploy anti-missile system near Tel Aviv


14:02, February 21, 2012

JERUSALEM, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) -- The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) plans to post a battery of its Iron Dome anti-missile system in the greater Tel Aviv area in coming days, the army told Xinhua Monday.

The deployment is intended to be part of a simulation of a missile attack by militants in Gaza or Lebanon, or other neighboring states, on the small country's densely populated central Dan region, which is also Israel's center of business and finance.

"The Iron Dome is still being fully integrated into the IDF," a spokesman of the army told Xinhua.

"As part of this process, the system is deployed at various locations throughout Israel and will be deployed in the Gush Dan area for the next few days. This is part of the annual training plan established for the system," according to the army.

Numerous rocket barrages by Hamas and Islamic Jihad militants in Gaza have killed over two dozen Israelis over the past decade, and have repeatedly forced over a million residents into shelters in an upwards of 60-km radius from the coastal enclave.

Military officials are more and more concerned that the steadily-increasing range and accuracy of the attacks put all of central Israel squarely into their foes' firing sights.

As well, Hezbollah has repeatedly threatened to fire off its estimated 40,000 rockets at Tel Aviv and other areas deep within Israel, which were beyond its range in the 2006 conflict when it launched some 4,000 Katyushas and other projectiles into the north.

While Iron Dome has succeeded in downing many such rockets, civilian and military officials have noted that the system, co- developed by Israel and Raytheon in the United States, is not a panacea against any local missile threat.

As well, some Israeli security officials have cast doubt on the multi-million-dollar system's ability to successfully accomplish its stated purpose, and pointed out the system's high cost for per "Tamir" interceptor, estimated at up to 40,000 U.S. dollars per unit.

Since the initial deployment in last April, Israel has three Iron Dome batteries in the field, and the army expects to receive shipment of a fourth battery soon, which will widen the deployment options.

Zaki Shalom, a researcher at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, told Xinhua after April's successful use in the field that Iron Dome gave Israel more choices in dealing with threats from Gaza.

"It gives us wider maneuvering ability. We don't have to react in an aggressive manner every time. We now have a very efficient defense system," Shalom said.


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Carl Richardson at 2012-02-21166.250.84.*
Israel insists on killing everybody, not just all Iranians.

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