World Bulletin / News Desk
The U.S. Congress approved $225 million in emergency funding for Israel's "Iron Dome" missile defense system on Friday, sending the measure to President Barack Obama to be signed into law.
The House of Representatives approved the funding by a 395-8 vote late on Friday, several hours after the Senate passed it unanimously.
The money would be used to replenish Israel's arsenal of Iron Dome interceptor missiles, many of which have been used to shoot down short-range rockets fired from Gaza into Israel in the current three-week-long conflict.
An earlier version of the funding plan had failed on Thursday when Senate Republicans blocked a broader spending bill that was largely intended to provide money to handle the current immigration crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border.
But lawmakers in both chambers subsequently reached agreements to pass the missile funding measure separately.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether Obama would sign the legislation. However, several administration officials have made comments this week praising the Iron Dome system.
Because it is being treated as emergency spending - similar to that used by Congress to pay for wars and natural disaster relief - the $225 million can simply be added to the U.S. deficit. It does not need to be offset by other savings under congressional budget rules.
Israel's Iron Dome missile interceptor system, which was partly funded by the United States, has shot down most of the rockets fired at its cities by Palestinian resistance fighters in Gaza, providing much greater protection for Israelis than during past conflicts.
The Iron Dome system is constructed by top Israeli defense contractors Elisra Group, Israel Aerospace Industries and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. It uses some components made by U.S. defense contractor Raytheon Co.
Violence has engulfed the Palestinian territories since Israel launched a military offensive in the Gaza Strip almost four weeks ago with the stated aim of halting rocket fire.
At least 1644 Palestinians – mostly civilians – have been killed and more than 8850 others injured in relentless Israeli attacks on the blockaded territory since July 7, according to Palestinian medics.
Gaza-based Palestinian factions, meanwhile, have continued to fire rockets at Israeli cities in response to the ongoing Israeli attacks.
According to Israeli figures, at least 63 Israeli soldiers were killed in battles with Palestinian fighters in Gaza and three civilians by rocket fire.
A 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire in the Gaza Strip collapsed on Friday after Israel accused Hamas of abducting a soldier in the southern city of Rafah.
The Palestinian movement, however, has denied any role in abducting the Israeli soldier.Last Mod: 02 Ağustos 2014, 11:20