Missile Defense Director Fired for Security Breach

YERUSHALAYIM (Reuters) -
This photograph provided by the Israeli Ministry of Defense on Monday Dec. 21, 2015 shows a launch of David's Sling missile defense system. David's Sling is intended to counter medium-range missiles possessed by enemies throughout the region, most notably the Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah. The system also aims to protect against low-altitude cruise missiles fired from longer distances. (Ministry of Defense via AP)
This photograph provided by the Israeli Ministry of Defense on Dec. 21 shows a launch of David’s Sling missile defense system. (Ministry of Defense via AP)

Israel’s missile defense director has been dismissed for a “grave breach of information security,” his ministry said on Sunday, a setback for U.S.-backed projects the country deems crucial for any future war with Iran or its allies.

In a statement, the Defense Ministry said the recently discovered security breach meant that Yair Ramati could not continue in the role. It did not elaborate on the offense, saying “relevant authorities” would be handling the case.

Three people familiar with Ramati told Reuters on condition of anonymity that he was not accused of criminal misconduct such as espionage.

The Defense Ministry statement praised Ramati for his achievements during four years in office, crowned this month by a successful trial shoot-down in space by the Arrow 3 ballistic missile shield and final field test of David’s Sling, a rocket interceptor slated for deployment in Israel next year.

The ministry wished him “great success for the future.”

Under Ramati’s watch, Israel also deployed its short-range interceptor Iron Dome, which according to Israeli and U.S. officials has had a 90 percent success rate in shooting down Palestinian terrorist rockets from the Gaza Strip.