Friday Nov 30, 201211:02 AM GMT
US defense chief pledges more support for Israel’s Iron Dome
US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta
US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta
Fri Nov 30, 2012 11:3AM
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The US defense chief has vowed to continue enhancing the Israeli regime’s so-called Iron Dome missile shield which proved ineffective in face of Palestinians’ retaliatory rocket in the recent war on the Gaza Strip.


In a Pentagon press conference with his Israeli counterpart Ehud Barak on Thursday, American Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, however, praised the system, adding, “Today, I assured the minister (Barak) that our strong commitment to Iron Dome will continue into the future.”

Despite Panetta’s repeated insistence during the press event about Iron Dome’s “success rate,” some American experts have questioned such claims by top US and Israeli officials, pointing to many Hamas-launched missiles that made it through the system, mounting intense pressure on the regime’s authorities to quickly agree to a ceasefire.

“We will obviously continue to work together to seek additional funding to enable Israel to boost Iron Dome's capacity further and to help prevent the kind of escalation and violence that we've seen," Panetta emphasized.

He added, according to the report, that the US granted USD70 million in fiscal year 2012 to fund the system, in addition to another USD205 million previously given to the Tel Aviv regime to develop the shield.

Barak, meanwhile, expressed his gratitude over the American pledge of total support while further insisting that "the needs are much larger than what we have right now, and we are determined to complete the system, besides the operational offensive capacities of the Israeli armed forces.”

Also at the event, Panetta pinned the Defense Department's Medal for Distinguished Public Service on Barak, who declared on Monday that he plans to quit politics following national elections planned by the Israeli regime in January 2013.

MFB/MA

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