Israel thanks U.S. for defense money

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has thanked President Barack Obama and the Congress for $205 million in aid to develop a new Israeli-made missile defense system. The aid was approved April 15.

Netanyahu said the assistance reflects “America’s unshakable commitment to Israel in critical times.”

Israel first used its Iron Dome defense system two weeks ago, shooting down eight rockets launched by Gaza militants toward Israeli cities. Experts say Iron Dome is the first system in the world capable of intercepting rudimentary rockets used by militants.

Israeli officials have expressed satisfaction with the system’s performance, raising hopes in Israel that it could change the long-running fight between Israel and Palestinian rocket launchers in Gaza. — ap