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Saturday, April 9, 2011

Iron Dome intercepts first rocket

Photo: Herzl Yosef

Residents in Ashkelon reported Thursday seeing Israel's new Iron Dome defense system intercept a Grad rocket fired towards the southern city from the Gaza Strip. IDF officials called the interception a "historical moment", saying it was the first of its kind in the world.

Two intercepting missiles were fired at the rocket, but the first succeeded in hitting it, an army official said.

Eyewitnesses told Ynet they saw the rocket explode in midair and realized that the system had intercepted its first rocket.

Moshe Ben Hemo, a resident of Ashkelon, said, "I was in the street and I heard a strange sound, like someone pushing the gas pedal of a car. Then I saw the rocket fly through the air and explode. Immediately I realized that it was Iron Dome, that's what has been said here."

He added that the rocket alert had not been set off. "The rocket was apparently supposed to explode in Ashkelon. In any case I'm glad the system works," he said.

After hitting a student bus traveling through Shaar Hanegev Regional Council Thursday, critically wounding a 16-year old boy and lightly injuring the driver, terrorists in Gaza fired some 45 rockets and mortar shells at Israel. No further injuries were reported.


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Gold advances to all-time high

London: Gold climbed to a record for the third straight day on demand for a hedge against inflation.

Gold advanced to an all-time high of $1,466.50 an ounce after the European Central Bank raised interest rates for the first time in almost three years to tame accelerating prices.

The precious metal also gained as fighting in Libya, Japan's nuclear crisis and concerns about European debt boosted demand for the metal as a haven.

"Inflation uncertainty and geopolitical risks are still high," said Bayram Dincer, an analyst at LGT Capital Management in Pfaeffikon, Switzerland.

"Sovereign bankruptcy in the European periphery is also supporting gold prices."

Gold futures for June delivery rose $2.60, or 0.2 per cent, to $1,461.10 at 10:18am on the Comex in New York. The metal for immediate delivery in London gained as much as 0.4 per cent to a record $1,464.93.

The ECB yesterday raised the benchmark interest rate to 1.25 per cent from a record low of 1 per cent.

"Gold is supported by the view that the dollar will weaken," said Frank McGhee, the head dealer at Integrated Brokerage Services LLC in Chicago.

Gold will average $1,460 this year, up from a previous forecast of $1,426, Standard Chartered Plc said yesterday in a report. Prices will average $1,650 next year, the bank said.

Silver futures for May delivery rose 12.8 cents, or 0.3 per cent, to $39.515 an ounce on the Comex. on Wednesday, the price reached $39.785, the highest since January 1980.

That year, the most-active contract reached a record $50.35.

Palladium futures for June delivery advanced $8.40, or 1.1 per cent, to $793 an ounce on the Nymex. Platinum futures for July delivery gained $6.70, or 0.4 per cent, to $1,804.50 an ounce on the Nymex.

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