Israel's multi-layer defense system nearing completion

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File - This Monday, Dec. 21, 2015 file photograph provided by the Israeli Ministry of Defense shows a launch of David's Sling missile defense system.

File - This Monday, Dec. 21, 2015 file photograph provided by the Israeli Ministry of Defense shows a launch of David's Sling missile defense system. (Photo: Ministry of Defense via AP, File)

JERUSALEM (AP) — A joint U.S.-Israeli missile interceptor will be operational soon, completing Israel's multi-layer defense system, a senior Israeli air force official said Monday.

He said David's Sling, meant to counter medium-range missiles possessed by Iranian-backed Hezbollah militants in Lebanon, will be operational in early April, marking the completion of the system.

That includes the Arrow, designed to intercept long-range ballistic missiles in the stratosphere with an eye on Iran, and Iron Dome, which defends against short-range rockets from Gaza.

The official spoke anonymously in line with protocol.

Israeli deployed its Arrow system Friday when Syria fired a missile at its jets after they carried out airstrikes targeting a weapons convoy bound for Hezbollah.

The official said the missile was identified as a ballistic threat and had a heavy warhead that could have landed inside Israel if not intercepted.

David's Sling was developed by Israeli defense firm Rafael with American defense giant Raytheon.

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