Israel tests ballistic missile interceptor in Alaska
Israel and the United States have successfully carried out tests of a ballistic missile interceptor that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday provides protection against potential threats from Iran.
The tests of the Arrow-3 system were carried out in the US state of Alaska and it successfully intercepted targets above the atmosphere, Israel's defence ministry said in a statement.
"The flight tests were conducted in Alaska in order to test capabilities that may not be tested in Israel," the statement said.
Netanyahu said "today Israel has the ability to act against ballistic missiles that could be launched against us from Iran or anywhere else".
"This is a great achievement for the security of Israel," he added.
US ambassador to Israel David Friedman joined Netanyahu at a cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on Sunday to watch video footage of the tests.
In January, Israel said it also carried out a successful test with the United States of the Arrow-3 in Israel.
A series of tests were also conducted before the missiles being deployed in 2017 to Israeli air bases.
Officials said that the one deployed was an older version and the upgraded system will provide more advanced protection.
The Arrow system, partly financed by the United States, was developed and produced by Israeli Aerospace Industries in partnership with Boeing.
Arrow-3 is intended to serve as Israel's highest-altitude missile interception system.
Systems for intercepting incoming missiles at lower altitudes, such as the Iron Dome, also exist. However the Iron Dome did not perform at expected levels during a conflict between Israel and the Gaza Strip in May, only intercepting 240 missiles out of 690 launched from the Gaza Strip.
Since 2015, Israel's rival Iran has continued developing and testing ballistic missiles which it says are for defensive purposes only.
Israel has the most powerful military in the Middle East and is widely considered to be its sole nuclear-armed power, though it has never acknowledged having nuclear capability.
The tests come with tensions high between the United States and Iran.
Those tensions followed Washington's sanctions against Tehran after US President Donald Trump's withdrawal from a nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.