Peretz: Anti-rocket system was late

Says delay was a mistake; denies plans to evacuate Sderot in case of emergency.

kassams awesome 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
kassams awesome 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
The plan to install an anti-rocket system in the South will provide a wider range of security, Defense Minister Amir Peretz said Monday. He criticized his predecessors for not installing the system earlier. "This system has great significance," Peretz said at a tree-planting ceremony in Sderot. "It is too bad that the investment wasn't made in previous years... The system could have been ready and prepared, and it could have helped." Peretz denied reports that plans have been drawn up for evacuating Sderot in an emergency. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Sunday gave final approval for the Iron Dome anti-Kassam system, which was chosen by Peretz last week. It is being developed by Rafael (Armaments Development Authority). Olmert and Peretz met with defense officials after Sunday's cabinet meeting and decided that the government would budget approximately $300 million for the project. Once the money is allocated, officials said, the system could be operational and deployed outside the Gaza Strip within two and a half years.