Israel, U.S. to Develop New Missile System

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JERUSALEM, Israel - Israel and the U.S. signed an agreement on Sunday to develop the Arrow 3 missile defense system.

The Arrow 3, developed jointly by Israel Aerospace Industries and the Boeing Co, are designed "to deal with the threat of ballistic missiles with long range," a Defense Ministry statement read.

The Arrow 3 will be able "to shoot down weapons of mass destruction outside the atmosphere," the Defense Ministry said. Together with the Iron Dome and David's Sling - also known as the Magic Wand - Israel will be protected by a three-tier system against short-, medium-, and long-range rockets and missiles.

"Given the threat Israel faces from short- and medium-range missiles, Israeli air and missile defense systems are an area of particular focus, including the Arrow Weapon System, to counter long-range ballistic missile threats and David's Sling to defend against short-range ballistic missiles," U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Andrew J. Shapiro said at the Washington, D.C.-based Brookings Saban Center for Middle East Policy two weeks ago.

"For our part, we are working with Israel to upgrade its Patriot Air and Missile Defense System, which was first deployed during the Gulf War, and have installed advanced radar systems to provide Israel early warning of incoming missiles," Shapiro said.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak leaves for Washington Sunday evening to meet with senior Obama administration officials to discuss various defense-related issues.

In an interview with The Washington Times published on Sunday, Barak said the IDF would hold Lebanon responsible if Hezbollah attacks Israel again and would not respond as it did in the summer of 2006.

"We will not run after each Hezbollah terrorist or [missile] launcher," the defense minister said. "We will see it as legitimate to hit any target that belongs to the Lebanese state, not just to Hezbollah."

With regard to the stepped-up sanctions against Iran, Barak said there's "still time" for them to work, but "probably at a certain point we should realize that sanctions cannot work."

Before returning to Israel, Barak will meet with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at United Nations Headquarters in New York.

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