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November 20, 2002

U.S., Israel to test missile-defense system
2-tiered technology meant to protect Jewish state during Iraq war

Good friends look out for each other
The United States and Israel are planning joint exercises of the Jewish state's two-tiered missile-defense system by the first part of the year, ahead of potential military action against Iraq, according to various reports.

The January exercises, says the Beirut, Lebanon, Daily Star newspaper, will involve a test of Israel's two-tiered missile-defense system comprising the U.S.-made Patriot Advanced Capability, or PAC-III, anti-missile system and the longer-range Israeli Arrow system, which was developed by Israel with U.S. assistance.

Iraq recently has threatened to retaliate against Israel with its limited supply of SCUD ballistic missiles if attacked by the U.S. During the 1990-91 Gulf War, Baghdad launched 39 missiles at Israel; the early Patriot systems were unable to intercept most of them.

Israel is stepping up its missile-defense preparations in anticipation of conflict between Washington and Baghdad. Earlier this month, Israeli defense officials even gave a rare public demonstration of the Arrow system to international media, according to the Nov. 13 issue of Missile Defense Briefing Report, published by the American Foreign Policy Council