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.
Reuters

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

Lion Cecil's Killing Sparks 'Canned Hunting' Debate in S. Africa

Conservationists believe incident, which triggered worldwide outrage, will reshape debate about practice in which hunters are allowed to target animals bred for hunting More

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Environmentalists Issue Warning on Mekong Biodiversity

Scientists say decades of economic development, hydropower-dam construction, lax law enforcement and trafficking have taken their toll More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
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.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs