Israel stations missile interceptor in north

JERUSALEM, June 28 (Reuters) – Israel deployed an Iron Dome rocket interceptor near the major northern city of Haifa on Tuesday a military spokeswoman said, highlighting its possible use in any future hostilities with Lebanese guerillas.

Israel's northern towns came under fire from thousands of short-ranged rockets fired by Hezbollah during the 2006 Lebanon war, spurring the system's development.

“Battery placement is determined by the appropriate authorities and based on ongoing assessment of the volatile security situation,” the military spokeswoman told Reuters.

Produced by state-owned Rafael Advanced Defence Systems Ltd., Iron Dome uses small radar-guided missiles to blow up Katyusha-style rockets with ranges of between 5 km (3 miles) and 70 km (45 miles), as well as mortar bombs, in mid-air.

Israel began deploying the $50-million Iron Dome units in March, near southern towns hit by rockets fired from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. The Jewish state wants between 10 and 15 units to defend its Palestinian and Lebanese fronts.

The Pentagon has said it planned to help Israel buy four new Iron Domes after the U.S. Congress budgeted $203.8 million in funding assistance for the system in fiscal 2011.


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