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Lawmakers introduce legislation to further assist Iron Dome

JTA

March 22, 2012 | 9:38 am

An Iron Dome launcher fires an interceptor rocket near the southern city of Ashdod on March 12. Photo by REUTERS/Nir Elias

An Iron Dome launcher fires an interceptor rocket near the southern city of Ashdod on March 12. Photo by REUTERS/Nir Elias

Key congressional leaders introduced legislation that would provide further assistance to the Israeli Iron Dome anti-missile defense system.

The Iron Dome Support Act was introduced by U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Howard Berman (D-Calif.) on Wednesday and co-sponsored by Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.).

The legislation would allow the President to authorize further assistance for the “procurement, maintenance and sustainment” of the Iron Dome system upon request by the Israeli government.

In addition, Reps. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.), Ranking Member of the Middle East and South Asia Subcommittee, Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), Chairman of the Middle East and South Asia Subcommittee, David Cicilline (D-R.I.) and Ann Marie Buerkle (R-N.Y.) signed on as original co-sponsors to the legislation. 

Israel has been the victim of recent Kassam rocket and Grad missile attacks from Gaza; however, with the Iron Dome in place, the Israel Defense Forces stated that nearly 90 percent of the rockets and missiles fired by Palestinian terrorist groups were intercepted by Iron Dome.

In a press statement outlining the introduction of the legislation, Berman noted that “when Palestinian terrorists launched their latest round of missile attacks on innocent Israelis, the Iron Dome anti-missile system saved innocent lives and prevented an escalation of hostilities and a full blown crisis.

“Israel must have the ability to defend itself from rocket and missile attacks, and the United States will continue to stand by our strong ally if called upon in times of need,” Berman said.

The system was built with the assistance of a one time $205 million grant by the Obama administration.

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