by Staff Writers
Prague (AFP) April 7, 2011
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday praised the Iron Dome short-range missile interceptor system that brought down a Gaza rocket aimed at his country earlier on the same day.
"We have deployed them in the last two weeks without actually testing them in laboratory conditions... (and) they have so far worked very well," he said after meeting his Czech counterpart Petr Necas.
The multi-million-dollar Iron Dome, which came into operation on March 27, intercepted a rocket fired from Gaza for the first time, over the city of Ashkelon, on Thursday.
"It gives hope that over time we can develop some better defence for civilians that are targeted by regimes or intelligence... deliberately targeting the innocent," said Netanyahu.
The Iron Dome is the first short-range interceptor deployed anywhere.
A military source told AFP this was the first time that Iron Dome had hit a rocket in an actual combat operation.
Over the past five years, militants in Gaza and in south Lebanon have fired thousands of projectiles at the Jewish state, and Israel is planning to deploy the system along both borders.
Commenting on the latest conflicts, Netanyahu said he hoped "this situation will be contained" but warned that "we will not shy away from taking all necessary action, offensive and defensive, to protect our country and its citizens."
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