U.S. Official: Israeli Rocket Shield Will Work

A smoke trail from a rocket fired by Palestinian militants inside the Gaza Strip is seen from the Israel side of the border with Gaza, Sunday, Jan. 18, 2009. Militants in Hamas-ruled Gaza fired salvoes of rockets into southern Israel on Sunday, defying a unilateral cease-fire called by Israel and threatening to reignite three weeks of violence that has killed more than 1,000 Palestinians and turned Gaza's streets into battlegrounds. (AP Photo/Tara Todras-Whitehill)
AP Photo/Tara Todras-Whitehill
A senior U.S. State Department official says Israel's new air defense system designed to protect its residents from rocket attacks will work.

Andrew Shapiro, an assistant secretary of State for political and military affairs, told an audience Friday that Israel has thoroughly tested the system, dubbed the "Iron Dome." He says the U.S. has conducted an evaluation of its own and is confident it will provide improved air defense for Israel.

The system is designed to protect Israeli towns from rockets launched from the Gaza Strip and Lebanon. The administration has asked Congress to authorize $205 million to help Israel accelerate its development.