Photo: Israel defence Forces
The Israel defence Forces (IDF) have acknowledged mid-battle technical failures in the Iron Dome, their short-range anti-missile defence system, according to Israeli news networks Ynet and Haaretz.And these failures occurred just as incoming rockets from Gaza were heading towards towns in Southern Israel.
“We are doing everything to make sure that there are no failures…but it would be irresponsible and unprofessional of me to say there is 100 per cent protection,” admitted the head of the aerial defence system, Col. Tvika Haimovich, to Haaretz News. They reported that one rocket hit an Israeli school that was empty at the time and another landed in a residential neighbourhood.
In another report by Ynet, an Iron Dome battery malfunction was repaired in the nick of time as the city of Ashdod’s rocket sirens were going off. A technician managed to fix the battery to intercept the rocket, but it was a very close call.
The Ynet news report cited the technician’s heroism and bravery, putting a very positive face on the reality that the Iron Dome just wasn’t battle-ready at a critical time.
Ironically, looking through the same Israeli news site’s coverage of the Iron Dome, you’ll find a rather prophetic op-ed piece published just the day before:
“Media outlets constantly reported with unbearable amazement the system’s success stories, while ignoring the truly important and dramatic element here: Israel is under attack,” wrote Hanoch Daum.
“Iron Dome is indeed an amazing system…However, it is a defensive system, which provides a very narrow solution to a very wide-ranging problem.”
The Iron Dome has been put to the test last week during rising military engagement with Islamic group the Popular Resistance Committees operating from Gaza. The organisation is claiming responsibility for most rockets fired at Israel last Friday in retaliation for Israel preemptively killing two of their senior officials.
The Israel defence Forces cite preventative counter-strikes as a go-to method for protecting Israel against aggression from Gaza: “These strikes with the Strip dramatically reduced the threat posed to Israeli civilians, by simple elimination.” Their number two method is the Iron Dome.
The question is how effective will Israeli anti-missile defenses be given the Iron Dome’s malfunctions last week and the continued speculation about an attack from Iran, which likely has far more sophisticated weapons than the militant groups in Gaza.
People posting comments on an IranDefence.net forum discuss the recent anti-rocket failures:
“They can’t even oppose some fireworks from Strip of Gaza and they talk about attacking Iran.”
While someone else tries to reason, “It is not supposed to intercept everything within the range, only those rockets that have dangerous trajectories.”
As it so happens, the Israel defence Forces chief of general staff, Lt. Gen. Benjamin Gantz, is currently conducting his first official visit to the United States.
The IDF announced that the Lt. Gen will be visiting Washington, D.C., to meet American counterpart General Dempsey and U.S. government representatives for discussions on joint military cooperation and briefings on the Middle East.
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