Jerusalem: Israel has received assurances from Washington about US support for the continuation of the Jewish state’s Arrow anti-missile system, the Ynet Internet news site reported on Wednesday.
The costly Arrow (Hetz in Hebrew) interceptor project was launched two decades ago and is aimed at countering strikes mainly from arch-foe Iran.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Wednesday that the Islamic republic had successfully test-fired a new medium-range missile, and US Defence Secretary Robert Gates said it appeared to have been successful.
Ynet reported that Israel had received assurances of continued funding and cooperation on the new-generation Arrow 3 system from the United States during a meeting between top defence ministry and Pentagon officials.
Defence ministry spokesman Shlomo Dror confirmed to AFP that Israel had received such assurances, adding that the meeting took place “several weeks ago.”
On April 7 Israel tested the system, with an Arrow intercepting and destroying a ballistic missile similar to Iran’s Shahab-3 which can reach Israel.
Israel says it has carried out more than a dozen successful tests.
The Arrow project began in 1988 during the now-defunct Star Wars programme under late US president Ronald Reagan. It was stepped up after Israel was hit by 39 Iraqi Scud missiles during the 1991 Gulf War.
Development of the Arrow is now half-funded by Israel’s main ally, the United States. Israel considers Iran to be its arch-foe following repeated calls by Ahmadinejad for the Jewish state to be wiped off the map.