A US Defense Department official confirmed to Fox News that the Pentagon is in the planning stages of delivering Iron Dome missile defense systems to Israel, as the country continues to fend off rockets fired at Israel by Hamas terrorists from the Gaza Strip.
“The U.S. will provide additional Iron Dome support to Israel,” the defense official said. “For this reason, the Department of Defense is currently planning to support the delivery of U.S. Iron Dome batteries to Israel.”
On October 7, Hamas terrorists carried out a surprise attack on Israel, marking the deadliest attack on the country in 50 years.
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An Israeli missile fired from the Iron Dome missile defense system attempts to intercept a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip over the town of Netivot in southern Israel on October 8. (Mahmud Hams/AFP via Getty Images)
The attack included over 3,000 rockets, drones and commando strikes targeting Israeli cities, military bases and infrastructure.
Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system neutralized about 90% of incoming threats, according to the Israeli military.
The system was created to protect Israeli civilians from rockets and mortars fired by militant groups in Gaza and Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon. It made its debut in April 2011 when it stopped a Grad rocket fired from Gaza on its way to Ashkelon.
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Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system fires to intercept a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg/File)
Iron Dome operates with a sophisticated radar system that detects incoming projectiles from approximately 40 miles away. It then calculates the trajectories of the projectiles and detects their potential threat by firing a launcher with 20 interceptor missiles to intercept any missile deemed dangerous.
Last week, U.S. Reps. Jared Moskowitz and Brian Mast, both Florida Democrats, announced they would lead a bipartisan coalition to urge the Defense Department to transition Israel to Iron Dome systems.
The U.S. has two Iron Dome systems that are “idled and not in use,” according to a press release from Moskowitz and Mast. The units were acquired in accordance with the National Defense Authorization Act of 2019.
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The Pentagon in Washington, DC (Daniel Slim/AFP via Getty Images/File)
“Every time the Iron Dome is deployed, it saves thousands of innocent Israeli and Palestinian lives from Hamas terrorists,” Moskowitz said. “Now more than ever, the United States must stand with Israel in its war against terrorists who want nothing more than to destroy Israel and the people who live there.”
The US Department of Defense is in the process of increasing military forces in the Middle East to avert a major conflict, but also to strengthen stability and defend national security interests.
On Tuesday, U.S. Department of Defense spokesman Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder confirmed that the New Jersey Air National Guard’s 119th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron had arrived in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility and added additional F-16 Falcon fighter squadrons to the mix to deter further aggression in the region.
The U.S. Navy announced last week that it would send the USS Mount Whitney to the eastern Mediterranean as tensions rise in the Middle East in the wake of the Israel-Hamas war.
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The U.S. 6th Fleet Blue Ridge-class command and control ship USS Mount Whitney. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images/File)
The USS Mount Whitney, the Navy’s command and control ship, departed Gaeta, Italy, on Wednesday to join the USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group in support of U.S. operations in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group, which was in the eastern Mediterranean, is headed to the Persian Gulf, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Saturday.
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The area is also home to a special operations Marine rapid response force of nearly 2,000 Marines and sailors, called the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which is moving closer to Israel across the Red Sea. The group includes the amphibious task forces USS Bataan and USS Carter Hall.
Kurt Knutsson of CyberGuy Report and Fox News contributed to this report.
Greg Wehner is a breaking news reporter for Fox News Digital.
Source : www.foxnews.com