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Iron Dome
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US to provide emergency aid for Iron Dome system
Congress set to approve additional $225 million to 'accelerate production' of new batteries, resupply interceptor missile inventory.
WASHINGTON – The United States will provide Israeli with $225 million in emergency aid for the Iron Dome missile defense battery, after Prime Minister Netanyahu's government requested additional funding due to the ongoing rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.

 

 

The Israeli request was submitted in order to rush system production and refill the inventory, given the massive amount of interceptors fired by the Iron Dome – which has achieved high rates of successful hits on rockets launched from Gaza.

 

Iron Dome launches interceptor missile (Photo: AFP) (Photo: AFP)
Iron Dome launches interceptor missile (Photo: AFP)

Gaza militants have fired more than 1,900 rockets during the 18 days of Operation Protective Edge; more than 400 were intercepted by the Iron Dome system. The number of interceptor missiles launched is greater, as in many instances two Iron Dome missiles are launched to intercept one rocket.

 

Iron Dome intercepts Gaza rocket (Photo: Reuters) (Photo: Reuters)
Iron Dome intercepts Gaza rocket (Photo: Reuters)

 

Israel submitted the request in recent days, leading US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to ask Congress for the funds. Members of Congress have already announced their support for the additional grant – above the $351 million already allocated to the Iron Dome in the Pentagon's FY 2015 budget.

 

The funds have been approved by the House of Representatives and passed a Senate committee vote. The full Senate is expected to approve the measure soon.

 

Iron Dome launches interceptor missiles (Photo: Pini Netrovitch) (Photo: Pini Netrovitch)
Iron Dome launches interceptor missiles (Photo: Pini Netrovitch)

 

Overall, US funding for Israeli missile defense programs in 2015 was set to reach $621.6 million for the Iron Dome, David's Sling, and the Arrow systems. The new Pentagon request is in addition to the already-approved funding, raising the total amount of aid for Israeli missile defense close to $865 million.

 

The funding for the aerial defenses is not included in the annual military aid package given to Israel – the $3.1 billion provided by the US State Department. The ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Armed Forces, Congressman Adam Smith, promised his full support for the additional funding.

 

Rep. Smith (D-WA) released a statement saying "the only thing that stands between Israel and a barrage of Hamas rockets is the Iron Dome. We should ensure that Israel has the ability to utilize the Iron Dome and protect innocent civilians from rocket attacks during this crisis and into the future."

 

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) noted that the chamber will fully support funding for the Iron Dome system, including the $225 for “to accelerate production” of additional batteries.

 

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