Oct 19, 2023 - World

U.S plans to send 2 Iron Dome batteries to Israel as war intensifies

This picture shows a battery of Israel's Iron Dome air defence system in the southern city of Ashdod on May 12, 2023

A battery of Israel's Iron Dome air defence system in the southern city of Ashdod. Photo: Jack Guez/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. is planning to send Iron Dome batteries to the Israeli military as the war between Israel and Hamas intensifies, according to one Israeli and two U.S. officials.

The big picture: The additional batteries will help bolster Israel's defense capabilities as concerns mount that the war will expand to a new front, particularly along the Israel-Lebanon border where tensions are escalating.

  • The Israeli military said its Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted several of the 20 rockets that were fired from Lebanon over the course of an hour on Thursday. It was the biggest rocket launch from Lebanon since the war began.
  • Hamas claimed responsibility for the rocket launches from Lebanon.
  • There have also been daily skirmishes between Hezbollah and the Israeli military along the border.

Details: The U.S. will send Israel two batteries, one Israeli and one U.S. official confirmed to Axios.

  • The U.S. had previously purchased the batteries from Israel, per Reuters.
  • The Israeli official said that only the hardware would be sent and it would be operated by Israeli teams, not U.S. operators.
  • Israeli officials made the request for additional batteries while Secretary of State Tony Bliken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin were in Israel.
  • The White House and Pentagon did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

State of play: Israel's Iron Dome has been crucial to defending Israeli cities against rockets fired by militant groups in Gaza and Lebanon.

  • It's been highly effective, intercepting thousands of rockets and other short-range projectiles that pose a threat to populated Israeli territory.
Graphic: Kavya Beheraj and Sarah Grillo/Axios; Icons: Mahmut Resul Karaca/Anadolu via Getty Images
Graphic: Kavya Beheraj and Sarah Grillo/Axios; Icons: Mahmut Resul Karaca/Anadolu via Getty Images

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