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Israel to deploy three new Iron Dome interceptors

Reuters , Wednesday 16 Jul 2014
Iron Dome missile
An Israeli soldier walks near the launcher of an Iron Dome missile interceptor battery deployed in the southern Israeli coastal city of Ashkelon (Photo: Reuters)
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Israel has found funding for three new Iron Dome rocket interceptors, an Israeli official said on Tuesday.

Israel had seven Iron Domes set up to shoot down missiles when cross-border fighting with Hamas-led militants surged on July 8, and has since brought two more into service, Israel's Defence Ministry said.

Speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, the Israeli official said that as a result of its operations against Gaza, dubbed Operation Protective Edge, three new Iron Dome units were now "in the pipeline".

The Israeli official did not expand on where the money for the new rocket interceptors came from. But Yair Ramati, head of the Defence Ministry's missile defence agency, told reporters at the weekend that all but two of the Iron Dome batteries in the field were paid for with US grants.

The US embassy in Israel did not immediately comment about the planned increase in the Iron Dome deployment on Tuesday.

Israeli defence industry sources have said in the past that Iron Dome batteries cost about $50 million each but added that this would be reduced as state-owned manufacturer Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. refined its production techniques.

Israeli and US officials said Iron Dome, which is designed to shoot down rockets threatening to hit residential areas while ignoring those falling wide, has scored a 90 percent success rate in intercepting incoming rockets.

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