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Israel successfully tests new laser missile defense system

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Israel unveiled a laser missile defense system on Thursday. Israel’s new laser missile defense system has successfully intercepted mortars, rockets, and anti-tank missiles in recent tests, Defense Minister Benny Gantz said on Thursday.

The Israeli-made laser system, designed to complement a series of aerial defense systems such as the costly Iron Dome deployed by Israel, will be operational “as soon as possible”, Gantz said.

The goal is to deploy the laser systems around Israel’s borders over the next decade, Gantz added. The tests took place last month in the Negev Desert.

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Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in February that Israel would begin using the system within a year, sending a message to arch-enemy Iran.

Gantz said the laser system would be part of “an efficient, inexpensive, and innovative protection umbrella”.

Israel has already developed or deployed a series of systems meant to intercept everything from long-range missiles to rockets launched from just a few kilometers away. It has also outfitted its tanks with a missile-defense system.

Little is known about the laser system’s effectiveness, but it is expected to be deployed on land, in the air, and at sea.

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The announcement came near the anniversary of the 11-day Israel-Gaza war, in which Gaza’s ruling Hamas militant group fired more than 4,000 rockets toward Israel.

Israel said its Iron Dome defense system has been a great success, with a 90 percent interception rate against incoming rocket fire. But officials say the system is expensive to deploy, and the new laser defense will be much more cost-effective.

 

The defense ministry released a short video showing what it said were successful interceptions of rockets, mortars, and an unmanned aerial vehicle.

Source: AP

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