News / Middle East

Israel: Iron Dome Intercepts 90 Percent of Rockets

An Iron Dome launcher fires an interceptor rocket in the southern Israeli city of Ashdod, Irael, July 9, 2014.
An Iron Dome launcher fires an interceptor rocket in the southern Israeli city of Ashdod, Irael, July 9, 2014.

Israel's Iron Dome interceptor has shot down some 90 percent of Palestinian rockets it engaged during this week's surge of Gaza fighting, up from the 85 percent rate in the previous mini-war of 2012, Israeli and U.S. officials said on Thursday.

Seven batteries of the system, made by the state-owned Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd and partly funded by Washington, have been rotated around Israel to tackle unprecedented long-range salvoes by Hamas guerrillas.

Rafael said it had been working on improvements to Iron Dome, which is designed to fire guided missiles at rockets that threaten to hit populated areas while ignoring others.

There have been few injuries and no fatalities from rockets that hit towns or cities - results that also reflect Israel's extensive investment in air raid sirens and shelters.

“We've been constantly fine-turning the programming of the system, including during the fighting. Our engineers are on the ground, with the military crews, analyzing each interception and making adjustments to get the best results,” said a Rafael spokesman.

Missile expert

Uzi Rubin, an Israeli missile expert, also credited accrued experience in using the system which was first deployed in 2011.

“Iron Dome's successes are the result of a variety of factors, including practice, and the rates could get even better,” Rubin said. But given the 10 percent failure rate, he cautioned Israelis against complacency, saying “Even the best-maintained car eventually gets a flat tire.”

An Israeli air force officer said that the system had had “approximately 90 percent” success since violence escalated sharply on Tuesday.

A U.S. official who monitors the system's performance said of the Israeli finding: “We believe that to be very close.”

Israel said that of more than 320 rockets launched from the Gaza Strip, at least 72 were intercepted while most of the rest fell harmlessly in open areas.

At least 71 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have been killed in Israeli military strikes since Tuesday, Gaza officials said.

Iron Dome was initially billed as providing city-sized coverage against Katyusha-style rockets with ranges of between 5 km (3 miles) and 70 km (42 miles).

Versatile use

Addressing a Tel Aviv conference hosted by Israel Defense magazine on Monday, Avi Serfaty, deputy general manager of Iron Dome radar manufacturer Elta, said the system could now provide defense at distances of up to 150 km (95 miles), potentially allowing more versatile use of batteries deployed nationwide.

Elta is a subsidiary of state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries.

Since Tuesday, Hamas and other Gaza guerrillas have launched rockets as far as 115 km (73 miles), threatening Israel's commercial hub Tel Aviv, northern Haifa port, the holy city of Jerusalem and a nuclear reactor in the southern town of Dimona.

Some of the long-range rockets have been Syrian- and Iranian-supplied M302s with 144 kg (317 lb) warheads, Israeli experts say, while others are locally made M-75 rockets with much smaller explosive payloads.

Israeli officials have warned against so-called “Iron Dome tourism,” where the public, reassured by the system's performance, watch interceptions rather than taking cover. 

You May Like

Nearly Every Job in America Mapped in Detail

A nifty map pinpoints practically every job in the United States, revealing the economic character of America’s metropolitan areas, which also helps to inform the local culture

Corruption Busting Is Her Game

South African activist is building 'international online community of thousands of corruption fighters'

Former SAF Businessman Gives Books, Love of Reading to Students

Steve Tsakaris now involved in nonprofit Read to Rise, which distributes books in Soweto, encourages lower-grade primary school students to read

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Hank Gibson from: Portland Oregon
July 11, 2014 1:14 PM
NPR reported Iron Dome has almost a
99% failure rate like most missile defense systems.
Shooting down a missile with a missile is very difficult.
I heard this several times while serving in the Air Force.
In Response

by: Abe Bird from: Brussles
July 14, 2014 7:35 AM
You have served in an old fashion Air Force, then. But Israel developed a missile system that meet the technological requirements to intercept rocket of small rang (as well other systems - Arrow and David Sting for long and middle range distance). Sorry to disappoint you but Israel leads the new technology needed, and she share the knowledge and patents only with the US.

by: habib from: freetown
July 11, 2014 4:14 AM
the palestain will never accept any solution rather than the 1967 borders

by: Patrick Kelly from: San Francisco
July 10, 2014 8:12 AM
One of the major barriers to the creation of two contiguous, sovereign states for Palestinians and Israelis is the existence – and continuing growth – of illegal Israeli colonies (widely called "settlements") on land long recognized by the United Nations as part of Palestine. Despite a repeated international condemnation, including a UN General Assembly resolution and a ruling by the International Court of Justice, the population of these 121 settlements has grown by an average of 5% annually since 2001. That compares to an average growth of just 1.8% for the population of Israel proper.

1 - Israel want to expand its boarders. So did Germany under Hitler.
2 – Israel tries to make life intolerable for the Palestinians in Gaza so they will leave the area not unlike what Hitler tried to accomplish with the Warsaw Ghetto.
3 – After purposely inciting violence, Israel uses any pretext it can as an excuse to use disproportionate force to achieve its goal of driving Palestinians off Palestinian land.

All of this qualifies as war crimes and the UN needs to stop taking a hands off approach with Israel, bring in UN peacekeepers and detain and arrest anyone guilty of war crimes or other human rights abuses including those at the highest levels of the Israeli government. Until this is done, there will be no peace in the Middle East.
In Response

by: NItzan
July 10, 2014 10:49 AM
You know what is a war crime? Using civilians as human shield to protect military sites. That is what the Hamas is doing in Gaza. How do I know? Well, it is well known to everyone for a long time now, but now Hamas is shamelessly admitting it over their national TV and call all civilians to gather around targeted sites to increase the civilians death toll on their side. This is not some Israeli "propaganda" like you would love to believe, look it up - Hamas officials publicly calling for civilians to be human shields in Gaza.

So this is the war crime. Shooting to source of fire or to a military target (e.g. missiles storage) and hitting civilians there, is not. Look it up in the Geneva conversion text (if common sense isn't enough here).

And most amusingly, you are talking about Hitler? Did you ever read the Hamas charter? The one that defines its vision and agenda? I bet you didn't, like all other outsiders that have a strong opinion about the Israeli Palestinian conflict despite knowing really nothing about it. So read that charter and see how it calls for the death of all Jews, and call it a divine commandment to Muslims.

It is an interesting thing how outsiders like you (with the strong opinion about this conflict) call Israel reaction to rockets continually fired at their civilians population deliberately (no argue about that at all, by admission of Hamas, and reality) call to a military action to stop it, disproportional. What is the proportion that you would see fitting, if your house was under constant fire and you couldn't take your kids to school? Would you call to your government to have fare fight with the weaker enemy? Maybe wait till some people, your kids maybe, get hit?

So keep being safe there is SF. (BTW, any native American reservations around your place where you live, or are they all gone? just wondering...)
In Response

by: meanbill from: USA
July 10, 2014 10:40 AM
The US sitting on the UN Security Council, will veto any UN resolution condemning Israel for anything.... (but then), the US led the charge against Libya to kill Qaddafi and his sons, for doing the same thing Israel is doing now? .... CRAZY isn't it?... how the US views things differently?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs