Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has officially announced that a new system created to intercept medium-range missiles has become operational and Tel Aviv's enemies have henceforth "put themselves in existential danger" if they try to attack Israel.
David's Sling is meant to supplement the Iron Dome system, which targets short-range rockets, and the Arrow system for long-range ballistic missiles. The Palestinian terror group has reportedly started producing new high-powered rockets, similar to those produced by Hezbollah, and has designed the rockets to exploit vulnerabilities in the Iron Dome system by equipping the weapons with high-explosive payloads and only firing them at close-range targets. The Arrow was put in use for the first time on March 17, when it intercepted an incoming Syrian anti-aircraft missile. "We are also working, to the same degree, to strengthen our defensive capability against our enemies", Netanyahu said hours before the ceremony at the weekly Cabinet meeting.
In January, Israel and USA had jointly completed a series of interception tests using the David Sling system to qualify for induction into service. "Whoever threatens our existence places himself in existential danger".
In response to Hezbollah's massive weapons cache, four new Sa'ar 6 missile ships- which are now being manufactured in Germany-will each be equipped with dual Iron Dome systems to protect Israel's offshore gas rigs.
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The director of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA), Navy Vice Admiral James D. Syring, also attended the ceremony. "I would like to congratulate the security establishment and the IDF for working on that", he said.
"We have an absolute commitment to the security of Israel", he said.
David's Sling was developed by Israeli defence firm Rafael with American defence giant Raytheon.
However, with Hezbollah expected to fire more than 1,000 rockets per day in a future conflict with Israel, military and political officials have warned that even the three layers of missile defense will not be capable to maintaining a 100 percent success rate.