Pentagon to request more funds for Iron Dome

Request comes after 80 percent success rate of Iron Dome in last violent flare-up with terrorists in Gaza.

By HILARY LEILA KRIEGER, REUTERS
March 28, 2012 00:06
1 minute read.
Iron Dome battery

Iron Dome battery 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

 
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The Pentagon indicated Tuesday that it would be requesting additional funds for Israel's Iron Dome budget following conversations with Israeli officials.

Congress has unveiled legislation authorizing such a budget request and the Pentagon statement was welcomed by several members on Capitol Hill.

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In the past the US approved a $205 million infusion for Iron Dome systems, though it was not immediately clear whether that amount would be matched in the new budget cycle.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak welcomed the announcement, describing it "another expression if the depth of Israeli - American defense ties," and a "badge of honor for Israeli defense industries which developed Iron Dome."

The system was developed by Rafael to counter rocket fire from Lebanon, which hit Israeli towns during the 2006 war with Hezbollah, and from Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, where Hamas, which the United States and Israel consider a terrorist group, took control in 2007.

The Obama administration has argued against military strikes on Iran for now, saying there is still time for diplomacy to curb its nuclear program, which Iran says is for peaceful purposes.

At the same time, US President Barack Obama is eager to show support for Israel's defense needs, particularly in an election year. Obama won nearly eight of every 10 Jewish votes in 2008 but a slip could jeopardize his November 2012 re-election drive in states like Florida and Pennsylvania, where Jews are an important swing bloc.

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