Israeli iron dome blocks 90% of Hamas barrage rockets from Gaza
- Israel has been bombarded with some 1,600 rockets in an escalating conflict.
- The country’s Iron Dome interception system has blocked the vast majority, Israel said.
- A report said the system had been improved to cope with more intense dams.
Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted about 90 percent of the rocket barrage fired by Hamas during recent hostilities, according to several sources.
The IDF says 1,600 rockets were fired by Hamas, the biggest test for the Iron Dome, which works by firing its own projectiles to destroy incoming rockets before they land.
The system can only track a limited number of rockets at a time. Despite the intensity of the last barrage, the system seems to have held up.
The Associated Press reported that 400 rockets fell short and landed in Gaza, leaving 1,200 rockets to intercept.
According to The Economist, the Israeli armed forces claim an interception rate for the iron dome of up to 95%. The AP reported that 90% were successfully intercepted in the most recent strikes.
Videos released Tuesday by the Israel Defense Forces and spectators portray the air battle between rockets and interceptor missiles. Each flash of light represents a successful interception:
—Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) May 11, 2021
—Avi Mayer (@AviMayer) May 11, 2021
“What you see in the sky is the algorithm,” an anonymous engineer who worked on the development of the system told The Economist. “We have constantly improved the algorithm so that it can cope with a roadblock like this.”
The Iron Dome algorithm has adapted to counter Hamas’s attempts to overwhelm the system with large numbers of rockets, experts told The Economist.
But that’s not cheap: Each interceptor costs around $ 40,000, per The Economist, which is several times the cost of the basic Hamas ammunition it intercepts.
“When they shoot at a big city like Tel Aviv, there is no doubt: you are intercepting every incoming rocket,” said Isaac Ben-Israel, a former major general and weapons specialist.
Hamas “failed because that is precisely what the system was designed to do: to deal with multiple targets, and it has been constantly improved to be able to deal with more.”
But some rockets still passed. Early Thursday morning, the Israeli death toll reached seven, the PA reported. Among those hit by rockets was a 6-year-old child, according to the media.
Gaza, an occupied territory, is much less able to defend itself against Israeli attacks. According to the PA, Israel has sent around 600 airstrikes on Gaza since Hamas started firing rockets.
These operations included the razing of two high-rise buildings that Israeli authorities said housed Hamas leaders.
Gaza’s health ministry on Thursday reported 69 dead in the attacks, including 16 children and six women, the AP reported.
The conflict escalated in response to many renewed tensions, as Insider’s Joshua Zitser reported.
These include the planned eviction of Palestinian residents from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem to make way for Jewish Israelis; and the brutal Israeli police around the Al-Aqsa Mosque, in which the police fired rubber bullets and stun grenades at worshipers.