Army commander: We can defend against Iran's Shihabs

Air Defense Forces cmdr. says Israel has effective response to all ballistic missile threats in ME.

Shihab 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
Shihab 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
A month after Iran test-fired its long-range Shihab missile, commander of the IAF Air Defense Forces Brig.-Gen. Daniel Milo said Tuesday that Israel has an effective response to all of the ballistic missile threats it faces in the Middle East. Milo said that while the recent missile tests in Iran did not include any significant "technological breakthroughs" that Israel was not familiar with, "we are in a period during which the enemy is accelerating the ballistic missile threat in all the various fronts. Last month, Iran held a massive missile exercise during which it claimed to have launched an improved version of the Shihab-3, known to have a range of 1,300 kilometers. On Tuesday, the Iranian Fars News Agency Web site reported that the Shihab-3 had recently been equipped with an advanced guidance system that significantly improves the missile's accuracy and can correct its flight plan in midair. According to the report - a translation of which was provided by Terrogence Ltd., an Israeli security consulting firm - the missile has also been equipped with a self-destruction device in the event that it deviates from its set course. "We have good answers to the treats and scenarios that we foresee in the region with regard to ballistic missiles," Milo said in reference to the Israeli-made Arrow missile defense system, a battery of which is stationed at the IAF base near Palmahim. The IAF conducted an exercise Tuesday inside the Arrow control room simulating how the missile defense system responds to a large barrage of missiles fired simultaneously from Syria and Iran. "There is no such thing as a 100 percent solution, but the way we provide an answer today to ballistic missiles is improving all the time," Milo said. Meanwhile, senior officers said Tuesday that the Air Force was in the middle of the process of setting up a unit that will be responsible for operating the Iron Dome system that is being developed by Rafael Defense Systems to intercept Kassam rockets fired from the Gaza Strip. The Defense Ministry has said that the system would likely be declared operational by 2010.