Washington, United States:
The Pentagon plans to send the two Iron Dome missile defense systems it had previously purchased from Israel back to that country to defend itself against inbound missiles, a US official and a congressional aide said.
The Department of Defense told members of Congress at a briefing on Wednesday it planned to lease the Iron Dome systems back to Israel, the US official and the congressional aide told Reuters. In this type of a financial arrangement, the ownership remains with the buyer.
The transfer back to Israel could come within days, the congressional aide said.
The Pentagon had been considering and testing the systems as a way to defend the territory of Guam from Chinese missiles.
The White House on Monday said it expected to fulfill additional security requests from Israel as quickly as possible. Biden promised replenishment of interceptors used by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system as well as ammunition in addition to redoubling the U.S. military presence in the region.
The Pentagon declined to comment.
Iron Dome was developed by state-owned Rafael Advanced Defence Systems with US backing to counter rocket fire from Lebanon that hit Israeli towns during the 2006 war with Hezbollah, and from Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, where Hamas Islamists took control in 2007. It became operational in 2011.
In August 2022, Israel said Iron Dome interceptor had shot down 97% of Palestinian rockets it had engaged during a weekend surge of Gaza fighting.
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