Thursday, April 7, 2011

Iron Dome Intercepts Palestinian GRADs

Iron Dome Intercepts Palestinian GRADs: "Israel’s newest rocket interceptor ‘Iron Dome’ was tested today in combat for the first time, intercepting GRAD rockets fired from the Gaza strip. The ‘Iron Dome’ battery positioned near Ashkelon is one of two units recently deployed in the Northern Negev, protecting population centers against rocket attacks.

The Multi Mission Radar (MMR) operating in the area detected the launch of rockets fired from Gaza toward Ashkelon and triggered a ‘Code Red’ alert, sending the citizens to the shelters. Simultaneously, ‘Iron Dome’ went into action, assessing the projected impact point of some of the rockets to be within the protected area, the battery launched its interceptors to defeat the specific rockets posing a potential risk, scoring direct hits. The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has escalated in recent weeks, as Palestinians fired rockets at the city of Beer Sheva.

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The first Iron Dome unit at the outskirts of Beer Sheva. Photo: Noam Eshel

Earlier this week Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak requested the Israeli Government allocate funding for the acquisition of five additional Iron Dome batteries. Funding for seven batteries was approved last year by the U.S. Congress but the actual funding has not been allocated yet.

Today, the Palestinians further increased the level of viciousness, firing an AT-15 Kornet anti-tank missile at an Israeli school bus transporting children back from school, wounding the driver and one passenger on board, a 15 year schoolboy. The attack was followed by intensive Qasam (improvised rockets) and mortar fire throughout the region. By introducing such a precision weapon against a civilian target, the attack triggered an escalated Israeli response of artillery and direct fire by helicopter gunships.

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