Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Congress Backs Israel's Iron Dome Missile Defense

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Congress Backs Israel's Iron Dome Missile Defense

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON * The Senate on Friday passed a $225 million bill to replenish Israel's missile defense system, and the House followed suit in the final hours before lawmakers began a summer break.

The money will go to restocking Israel's Iron Dome, which has been credited with shooting down dozens of incoming rockets fired by Palestinian militants over three and a half weeks of war. The votes came two days after the Pentagon announced ammunition deliveries to Israel and as a planned 72-hour cease-fire between Israel and Hamas unraveled almost as quickly as it began.

Efforts in the Senate to approve the money stalled Thursday night after Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., sought cuts elsewhere in the budget to pay for the aid. Earlier, senators attempted to lump the Israel money into a broader spending bill that included border security and wildfire assistance money. That bill failed to get the necessary 60 votes on Thursday, and the House had little interest in it, anyway. Friday's separate Israel bill passed by voice vote. Later Friday, the House passed the measure 395-8.

At a White House news conference earlier in the day, President Barack Obama reiterated his support for Israel's right to self- defense while urging greater protection for Palestinian civilians. He cited Iron Dome as a concrete way the U.S. is helping "make sure that Israel is able to protect its citizens."

The Iron Dome system has emerged as a game-changer in the current round of violence, with Israeli officials citing a success rate as high as 90 percent.

The system uses radar, advanced tracking technology and anti- missile batteries to follow the trajectory of an incoming rocket or mortar and determine if it is headed for a major population center. If an urban area is threatened, interceptors are fired to detonate in the air in close proximity to the missile. Projectiles not posing a threat are allowed to fall in empty fields. …

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