Over the past few days, Israel has been attacked with rockets from Palestinian fighters, some which have got past the country’s much publicized ‘Iron Dome’ defensive system designed to block rocket barrages.
Various reports put the number of rockets fired from the Palestinian side as between 500 to 1500 over the course of 3 days. According to Israeli reports, some these rockets hit homes killing 2 persons and others struck an empty bus setting it on fire and injuring three people nearby.
70 rockets in 30 minutes
A report from Al Jazeera’s Nida Ibrahim from the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, said Hamas’ armed wing fired their “largest barrage” yet from the enclave towards Israel- 70 rockets were fired in 30 minutes.
Palestine’s Dunya Al Watan news portal reported that the Al-Qassam Brigade, the military wing of Hamas movement that controls the Gaza Strip, said it had launched 100 rockets towards the Israeli city of Beersheba early on Wednesday. In addition, a missile strike from Gaza targeted one of Tel Aviv districts early on Wednesday, a TASS correspondent reported from the scene.
90% rockets destroyed
On Tuesday, the Israeli military said that 90 percent of rockets that reached Israeli airspace were destroyed by Iron Dome. Roughly 500 missiles had been fired from Gaza since the start of the conflict, military officials said as quoted in Israeli media.
However, even admitting that 10% of the rockets got past ‘Iron Dome,’ it still is a large number of rockets and missiles. The sheer number of projectiles fired towards Israel may have overwhelmed the Iron Dome system, some reports quoting western analysts said.
However, a report in Washington Post said some defense analysts question those numbers (of blocking 90% of rockets), arguing that the Israeli figures for successful interception are unreliable and that groups including Hamas and Islamic Jihad that fire rockets and artillery from Gaza have adapted to the system.
Iron Dome upgrade
The rocket firing by Hamas comes at a time when the Iron Dome has been upgraded to handle the next level of threats.
In March this year, the Israeli Ministry of Defense (MoD) had announced an upgrade to the Iron Dome system that enhances its ability to address evolving threats such as UAVs, missiles and rocket barrages.
An Israeli official, the head of the Mapat wall administration, Moshe Fattal was quoted as saying in an Israeli MoD release, "10 years after the first operational interception of the Iron Dome system, we are today completing a technological leap in the system's capabilities. In three series of experiments within a few months, we have jumped the capabilities of the Iron Dome system into the next generation of threats: complex, loaded and challenging missile and rocket barrages, clusters of unmanned aerial vehicles and more.”
Israeli Minister of Defense, Bnei Gantz was also quoted in the release: "The Israeli technological superiority provided through the Iron Dome and the multi-layered defense system is a cornerstone of Israel’s defense….thanks to which the citizens of Israel can sleep peacefully."