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. Israel plays down failure of missile test in US
JERUSALEM (AFP) Aug 27, 2004
Israeli officials tried to downplay Friday the failure of a joint test with the United States of a new missile system designed to intercept incoming missiles.

The Arrow-2 missile system failed to destroy the detachable warhead of an incoming missile fired by a US Airforce aircraft in a test off the coast of California on Thursday.

While the Arrow did identify the warhead, the interception failed because of an unidentified malfunction, defense ministry officials confirmed.

The Arrow system was originally designed to meet the threat of Iraqi Scud missiles during the rule of Saddam Hussein but is now being adapted to head off potential threats which intelligence sources say are being developed by Syria and Iran.

Aryeh Herzog, the defense ministry official in charge of the Arrow project, said Friday that the testing could be seen as a success and that only minor technical glitches needed to be ironed out.

"The element of distinguishing was successful, and the element of final interception had a local malfunction in the Arrow missile," he said. "We are now trying to identify the source of the malfunction."

A further test is expected in the next few months.

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