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Anti-Missile Defense System Fails, say US Military Officials

U.S. Defense Department officials say an anti-missile defense system test failed early Wednesday when an interceptor missile shut down on its launch pad in the Pacific Ocean.

A statement from the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency says a target missile with a mock warhead was successfully fired from Kodiak, Alaska. But the interceptor scheduled to launch 16 minutes later from a site in the Marshal Islands shut down for some unknown reason and failed to fire.

The agency says the exercise was a test of a missile defense system President Bush had hoped to have partially operational by the end of this year. Wednesday's test of the anti-missile shield was the first of its kind to be conducted in nearly two years. Previous tests have met with sporadic success.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and Reuters.