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8 Jan, 2020 20:48

Israel will shoot down rockets with space-age ‘LASER SWORD’

Israel will shoot down rockets with space-age ‘LASER SWORD’

Israel announced an upcoming addition to its aerial defense systems: a laser weapon that the country’s defense minister says will be able to intercept rockets, guided missiles, and other projectiles lobbed at the Jewish state.

Israel has been developing laser weapons since the mid-1990s, yet the most promising such weapon – the US-Israeli-developed Nautilus Tactical High Energy Laser – was shelved in 2006 in favor of continued reliance on the Iron Dome missile batteries.

However, research has continued in the meantime, and Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennett announced on Wednesday that a functioning laser defense system will be operational within a year and a half.

The system will use multiple laser beams focused together, and will work in adverse weather conditions, the Jerusalem Post reported. Bennett said that the system “makes the security apparatus more lethal, more powerful, and more advanced.”

“We will add a laser sword when dealing with threats from the north or the south,” the minister said, adding “the enemies of Israel better not test our resolve or our abilities.”

The Israeli government’s goal is to use the system against rockets, such as the Qassam, commonly fired into Israel from Gaza. Defense Ministry research head Yaniv Rotem told the Jerusalem Post that the laser has been tested on “mortar shells, drones and anti-tank missiles” in recent years.

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Crucially, laser weapons are far cheaper to operate than missile batteries. Every successful Iron Dome interception costs thousands of dollars, whereas a laser weapon costs only what electricity is used. It is also expected to be effective against low-flying drones and incendiary kites and balloons, like those used by Palestinain rioters to set fire to Israeli farmlands near the Gaza border.

‘Star Wars’ capabilities are unlikely to deter Israel’s enemies from launching attacks on the Jewish state, however. Despite the Iron Dome limiting the effectiveness of rocket strikes, and the Israeli military’s often disproportionate response to Palestinian violence, anger among those living in the occupied territories still regularly results in clashes and death.

The country’s long-standing enmity with Iran has also seen its cities threatened with missile fire. As the US and Tehran stood on the brink of war this week, Iranian leadership threatened on Wednesday to launch missiles at Haifa, should the US respond with force to an Iranian attack on American bases in Iraq.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded in kind, threatening to deal Iran a “most crushing blow,” were the Islamic Republic to target Israel.

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