by Staff Writers
Tel Aviv (IANS) Mar 13, 2012
Top Israeli officials Sunday praised its homemade anti-rocket system Iron Dome after it intercepted volleys of rockets fired by Gaza militants.
In a sudden flare-up of violence that shattered months of relative calm, Palestinian militants have fired more than 120 rockets into southern Israel since Friday, the Israeli defence ministry said in a statement.
The Iron Dome system intercepted 28 of the 31 Grad rockets fired at major Israeli cities over the weekend, and another seven of 15 rockets fired Sunday, Xinhua reported.
"The system has proven itself very well," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during his cabinet's weekly meeting Sunday.
He said the government "will do everything within its power" to procure more batteries in the coming years to improve the protection of the country.
Defence Minister Ehud Barak said Saturday that Iron Dome provided the country's political and military leadership "greater freedom" to deal with threats, referring to the decision to order the assassination of a top militant in the Gaza Strip Friday, whom the military said had planned to launch an imminent attack on the Israel-Egypt border.
Israel will hit anyone planning to attack its citizens: PM
"We will continue to hit whoever plans to attack citizens of the State of Israel," Netanyahu said while meeting with regional council heads in the south, where over 100 rockets from Gaza have fallen since Friday.
"At the same time, we will continue to improve home front defense including by means of additional Iron Dome systems, the effectiveness of which was shown again over the weekend," he added.
The Iron Dome system intercepted 27 of the 29 rockets it targeted. The missile defense system is designed to only intercept rockets identified as heading toward populated areas, reported Xinhua.
Also Saturday, Palestinians said that an Israeli air strike killed two people riding on a motorcycle in Gaza's Khan Younis, bringing the total number of militants reportedly killed to 14.
On Friday afternoon, an Israeli Air Force strike in Gaza killed the leader of the Popular Resistance Committee (PRC), Zuhair al-Qaisi, who was believed to be planning a large terror attack on Israel's southern border.
BOX IT US concerned about attacks in Israel Washington (IANS) Mar 13, 2012 The US has expressed concern over rocket attacks by Gaza militants in southern Israel.
"We are deeply concerned by the renewal of violence in southern Israel," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a statement Saturday.
"We condemn in the strongest terms the rocket fire from Gaza by terrorists into southern Israel in recent days, which has dramatically and dangerously escalated in the past day," she said.
Fourteen militants killed and over 20 Palestinians injured as Israeli jets struck back. The majority of the dead are members of the military wing of the Islamic Jihad movement, reports Xinhua.
The violence is the worst since August 2011, when 25 Palestinians were killed in a wave of violence after Israel killed Kamal al-Nairab, top commander of the pro-Hamas Popular Resistance Committees.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday that Israel would continue to strike any group trying to attack Israeli citizens and would acquire more Iron Dome systems to shoot down incoming rockets.
Source: Indo-Asia News Service
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US may disclose missile defence data to Russia
Moscow (IANS) Mar 13, 2012
The US has said it is willing to disclose classified information to Russia on the missile defence shield to be deployed in Europe, a move that a military analyst said could solve the impasse over the American programme. The plans to share unspecified "secret data" on the missile defence shield with Russia were first voiced late last week by Bradley Roberts, US deputy assistant defense secr ... read more
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