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US to activate missile shield over southern Europe: report

• Agence France-Presse via the raw story
WASHINGTON — The United States is close to activating a missile shield over southern Europe as part of its effort to shore up regional defenses in the face of a missile threat from Iran, The Washington Post reported.

Citing unnamed Pentagon officials, the newspaper said the US Defense Department is nearing a deal to establish a key radar ground station probably in Turkey or Bulgaria.

Installation of the high-powered X-band radar would enable the first phase of the shield to become operational next year, the report said.

In September 2009, US President Barack Obama scrapped a missile shield project, which had been pushed by his predecessor George W. Bush and would have seen a powerful radar installed in the Czech Republic and 10 long-range ballistic interceptor missiles in Poland by 2013.

The shield plan had enraged Russia, which called it a security menace on its doorstep, although Washington insisted the aim was to ward off a potential long-range missile threat from Iran.

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