Israeli arms manufacturer Rafael on Sunday successfully completed a series of initial tests of its "Iron Dome" missile defense system being developed to counter short-range rocket and missile threats from southern Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.
The system will use a special radar and small interceptor missiles to bring down Katyusha missiles and Gaza's locally-produced Kassam rockets.
Defense officials cited by Ha'aretz said that in light of Sunday's successful tests, the Iron Dome will be ready to attempt to intercept a test missile by the end of this year. If that and subsequent tests go well, the system could be deployed among the rocket-battered communities of southern Israel by 2010.
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