Israel Asks U.S. for $225 Million to Replace Missing Iron Dome Parts

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An Iron Dome air defense system fires to intercept a rocket from Gaza Strip in Ashkelon, July 5, 2014.Credit: AP

Israel has requested an additional $225 million in United States funding for the production of Iron Dome components, in light of the wide-scale use of the system during Operation Protective Edge.

In a letter to the leaders of both houses of Congress on Wednesday, U. S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel wrote that the Department of Defense "has reviewed and supports this urgent request."

The additional funding, if granted, will increase Iron Dome funding from the U.S. to more than half-a-billion dollars in the current financial year.

Both houses, which previously doubled the Iron Dome allocation requested by the administration, are expected to accede to the request.

Israeli defense sources have said in recent weeks that the country has a sufficient stockpile of the interceptor missiles currently fired by nine Iron Dome batteries in the south and center of the country.

Hagel, however, wrote of "Israel's critical missile defense needs in light of the ongoing conflict in Gaza."

Israel, he said, assesses that it will take another two to three years to reach full production capacity in the U.S., "which would not address Israel's current shortfall."

Hagel further requested that the emergency allocation "be exempt from the terms and conditions of the U.S-Israel Iron Dome Procurement Agreement," which stipulates that Israel will continue to develop co-production of lron Dome components in the U.S.

The Iron Dome system, he asserted, "has saved countless Israeli lives" since the start of the operation in Gaza.

"On behalf of the Administration, I ask for your support in meeting Israel's critical missile defense needs in light of the ongoing conflict in Gaza," Hagel concluded.

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