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      'Iron Dome' Passes the Test

      The Defense Ministry reports a successful test of the Iron Dome rocket protection system.
      By Maayana Miskin
      First Publish: 3/26/2009, 8:10 PM

      Israel News Photo: Flash 90

      The Defense Ministry reported Thursday that the Iron Dome rocket protection system recently passed a series of tests. The success means the system may be ready for use earlier than previously expected, officials said.

      The system successfully shot down a Grad missile, and detected rockets fired from Gaza. On Thursday morning, the system responded as planned to a test launch, splitting the “enemy rocket” in two.

      Iron Dome is designed to detect rocket launches and respond within seconds by firing a missile. The missile intercepts and destroys the rocket.

      Defense Minister Ehud Barak expressed satisfaction with the test results. Developing a missile defense system is a national priority, he said.

      Defense officials hope Iron Dome will protect cities in southern Israel and elsewhere from rocket and missile attacks. Weapons experts hope the system will protect against short-range rockets, which are harder to target than longer-range missiles due to their smaller size.