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Israel reports successful test of missile-defence system


A file photo.

JERUSALEM (AP): Israeli officials announced on Thursday that a joint US-Israeli missile-defence system has successfully passed a new test and is expected to be operational next year a development that would provide an important tool in protecting the country against Hezbollah militants in Lebanon.

The Defence Ministry said the David's Sling system had successfully intercepted targets in a series of tests conducted with the US Missile Defence Agency, calling it a "major milestone."

"We believe that next year it's going to be operational," Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon told journalists at an appearance with visiting US House Speaker John Boehner. With Boehner nodding in agreement, Yaalon said the project was an example of strong US-Israeli relations.

David's Sling is meant to counter medium-range missiles possessed by enemies throughout the region, most notably Hezbollah. The militant group, which battled Israel during a monthlong war in 2006, is believed to possess tens of thousands of rockets and missiles. The system also aims to protect against low-altitude cruise missiles fired from longer distances.

David's Sling is part of what Israel calls a "multi-layer" missile defence system that includes the Arrow, which is being developed to intercept longer-range missiles from Iran, and the Iron Dome rocket-defence system, which is already operational.

The test was announced as world powers were trying to wrap up a nuclear agreement with Iran. Israel has objected to the emerging agreement, saying much of Iran's nuclear infrastructure would remain intact. It also has said Iran's continued development of long-range missiles is a sign of Iran's bad intentions.

Iran says its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes only.

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Israel  Missile  Test  

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