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Israel tests missile shield over Alaska

July 28, 2019

Israel and the United States say they have successfully tested the Arrow 3 missile defense system. Israel intends to use the jointly developed interceptor system to defend against missiles potentially fired from Iran.

Arrow-3 missile being launched in Alaska
Image: Reuters/Courtesy Israel Ministry of Defense

Israel said on Sunday that it had carried out a series of successful live interception tests of its Arrow 3 ballistic missiles over the US state of Alaska.

Israel and the US held up the successful test as evidence of the strength of their alliance in the face of perceived threats from various countries, notably Iran.

"Today, Israel has the capabilities to act against ballistic missiles launched at us from Iran and from anywhere else," said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The director of the US Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency, Vice Admiral John Hill, said in a statement that Washington was "committed to assisting the government of Israel in upgrading its national missile defense capability to defend the state of Israel and deployed US forces from emerging threats."

Read more: Iran slams proposed European naval mission in Persian Gulf 

US Ambassador David Friedman and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in front of a video screen showing tests
US Ambassador David Friedman and Netanyahu watched the tests on videoImage: Reuters/M. Kahana

Growing confrontation

The Arrow 3 system is part of a multicomponent shield that Israel is developing to defend itself not only against long-range missiles from Iran, but also rockets fired from Gaza and Lebanon.

The missile system, which passed its first full interception test over the Mediterranean in 2015, is said to be able to shoot down incoming missiles in space. With its earlier generation system, Arrow 2, Arrow 3 complements the Iron Dome and David's Sling, which are designed to deal with short-range and mid-range missiles respectively.

The Alaska tests come a week after Washington reported apparent Iranian trials of a medium-range ballistic missile. Iran and the US are currently embroiled in an escalating confrontation over Tehran's nuclear program and missile projects.

In a statement, the Israeli Defense Ministry said the tests were carried out in Alaska to try out features that were not allowed to be tested in Israel.   

tj/amp (Reuters, AFP)

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