What is Israel's Iron Dome, air-defence system which intercepted Hamas rockets? | World News - Hindustan Times
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What is Israel's Iron Dome, air-defence system which intercepted Hamas rockets?

Oct 08, 2023 01:55 PM IST

Israel-Hamas war: In a recorded message, Hamas commander Mohammad Deif claimed the outfit launched 5,000 rockets into Israel.

Palestine-based Hamas militants launched a barrage of rockets on Israel on Saturday infiltrating the towns near the Gaza Strip through land, air and sea. As per reports, Palestinian fighters entered Israeli towns on boats, pick-up trucks and hand gliders.

Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepts rockets launched from the Gaza Strip, as seen from Ashkelon in southern Israel. (Reuters)
Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepts rockets launched from the Gaza Strip, as seen from Ashkelon in southern Israel. (Reuters)

In a recorded message, Hamas commander Mohammad Deif claimed the outfit launched 5,000 rockets into Israel. Announcing the operation, Deif said, “We announce the start of Operation Al-Aqsa Flood and we announce that the first strike, which targeted enemy positions, airports, and military fortifications, exceeded 5,000 missiles and shells.”

Along with this, Palestinian fighters laid attacks on the ground as they spread across Israeli towns killing civilians and taking in Israeli people and forces hostage.

Follow Israel-Hamas conflict LIVE updates here.

Israeli Army spokesman Richard Hecht said on Saturday, “It was a combined ground raid which happened through paragliders, through the sea and through the ground. Right now we're fighting. We're fighting in certain locations around the Gaza Strip... our forces are now fighting on the ground.”

A significant number of rockets targeted towards Israel were intercepted through the Israeli military's anti-rocket defence system — Iron Dome. However, several found their mark in raiding Israeli towns.

What is Israel's Iron Dome system?

  • Israel's Iron Dome system is a short-range air defence system which is known to have a 96 per cent success rate in intercepting rockets, news agency Reuters reported.
  • As reported by Associated Press, the Iron Dome system intercepted 90 per cent of the rockets fired by Hamas in the recent attack.
  • The system was developed by state-owned Rafael Advanced Defence Systems with the backing of the United States in order to counter rockets fired by the terror group Hezbollah from Lebanon during the 2006 war and by Palestine's Hamas.
  • The air-defence system became operational in 2011.
  • Considered one of the most advanced defence systems in the world, the Iron Dome uses a radar in order to identify and destroy air-based threats before they can cause any damage.
  • Israel’s wider air defence shield also includes David’s Sling and Arrow to identify and eliminate medium- and long-range threats like drones and planes. Another air-defence system by the Israeli military is Arrow-3, which was designed to intercept and counter ballistic missiles outside the atmosphere of the earth.
  • Due to the high success rate over the past decade and the backing from the US, Iron Dome has received international attention. Rafael in 2020 said that it delivered two Iron Dome batteries to the US.

Read Here | Israel-Hamas conflict: Saudi Arabia calls for ‘two-state solution’ as attacks escalate

  • However, All Israel News reported that in May this year, Iron Dome did not perform well against a barrage of rockets from Gaza. Out of the 104 rockets launched, the system only countered 24 of them, leading the interception rate to come down to 60 per cent. The Israeli Defense Force later said that there was a technical glitch.
  • In 2017, Israel also developed a naval version of the Iron Dome system in order to protect ships and other sea-based assets.

How does it work?

Iron Dome consists of truck-towed units, each of which fires radar-guided missiles to counter short-range threats including rockets, mortars and drones while they are mid-air.

The all-weather system does not shoot down all the rockets on Israel's radar. It uses an Artificial Intelligence based mechanism to first determine whether an incoming rocket is an interpreted threat and will hit a populated area, if not the Iron Dome ignores the rocket and lets it enter Israel's air space, Reuters reported.

Iron Dome originally had a range between 4 and 70 km, in order to provide city-sized coverage, however, it has been said to have expanded.

The cost to launch an Iron Dome interceptor ranges between $50,000 and $100,000.

As reported by BBC, militant groups try to overwhelm the system by testing its limitations.

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