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House OKs closer U.S.-Israel missile defense

The U.S. House of Representatives passed two measures that would bring closer the U.S. and Israeli missile defense systems. Both amendments to the $504 billion defense spending bill passed Thursday by wide margins.An amendment proposed by Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), the ranking member on the House Armed Services Committee and a candidate for president, directed $205 million to the joint development of long- and short-range missile interceptors; short-range missile defense is seen as more urgent since last summer’s war in Lebanon between Israel and Hezbollah.Another amendment, initiated by Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), requires the Pentagon to integrate the Israeli and U.S. ballistic missile defense systems to better protect Israel against possible attacks by Iran.