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JERUSALEM - Israel successfully tested its upgraded Arrow missile interceptor for the second time on Friday, pushing forward work on a U.S.-backed defense against ballistic threats it sees from Lebanon's Hezbollah guerrillas as well as from Iran and Syria.
One of several elements of an integrated Israeli aerial shield, Arrow 3 is designed to deploy kamikaze satellites - known as "kill vehicles" - that track and slam into ballistic missiles above the earth's atmosphere, high enough to safely disintegrate any chemical, biological or nuclear warheads.
Iran and Syria have long had such missiles, and Israel believes some are now also possessed by their ally Hezbollah, whose growing arsenal in Lebanon, stocked in part by Damascus, preoccupies the Israelis as their most pressing menace.
Friday's launch of an Arrow 3 interceptor missile over the Mediterranean was the second flight of the system, but did not involve the interception of any target, officials said.