Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Pentagon wants more money for Israel's Iron Dome

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Pentagon will press Congress for more money for Israel's Iron Dome system designed to intercept short-range rockets and mortars, a boost for Israel as the Obama administration tries to dissuade the Mideast ally from launching a potential unilateral strike on Iran.

Tuesday's announcement from the Pentagon also comes as President Barack Obama has faced election-year criticism from Republican presidential candidates and lawmakers that administration support for a longtime friend has been inadequate.

"Supporting the security of the state of Israel is a top priority of President Obama and Secretary (Leon) Panetta," Pentagon press secretary George Little said in a statement. "The Department of Defense has been in conversations with the government of Israel about U.S. support for the acquisition of additional Iron Dome systems and intends to request an appropriate level of funding from Congress to support such acquisitions based on Israeli requirements and production capacity."

The Pentagon cited the effectiveness of the system, which in recent weeks intercepted more than 80 percent of the nearly 300 rockets and mortars fired by Palestinian militants from Gaza at southern Israel. Read More