IDF deploys Iron Dome battery near Eilat

First Iron Dome battery placed in Eilat region; IDF says move comes as part of operational, systematic program.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
July 11, 2012 22:28
1 minute read.
Iron Dome fires interceptor rocket south of Ashdod

Iron Dome 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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The IDF on Wednesday deployed an Iron Dome rocket-defense system near Eilat.

IDF officials said that this was part of an operational, systematic program and not a result of any particular information that they had received. 

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Three weeks ago two Grad-model Katyhusha rockets slammed into the southern Israel; one near Mitzpe Ramon and the other in the southern Arava near Uvda.

The rockets were both identified as 122 mm. Katyushas which have a range of 40 km.with a 30 kilogram explosive warhead. The IDF believed that the rockets were fired from Sinai.

No casualties were reported in the attack, but a number of citizens suffered from shock and were treated by Magen David Adom paramedics.

No one was wounded and the IDF said that it was not surprised due to the increase in Palestinian terrorist activity in Sinai. IDF assessments are that the rocket was either fired by a Palestinian rocket cell from Gaza – affiliated either with Hamas or Islamic Jihad – or by Beduin freelancers who work for the Gaza-based organizations.

In April, terrorists fired at least one Katyusha rocket from the Sinai Peninsula into Eilat.



“We are starting to think about how to defend Eilat if there is a requirement to do so,” a senior officer explained at the time.

The Iron Dome system has intercepted over 90 rockets fired from the Gaza Strip since the first interception in April 2011. IDF plans call for the deployment of 13-14 batteries to effectively defend critical infrastructure and population centers from short-range rockets in Gaza and Lebanon.

The Iron Dome is designed to defend against rockets at a range of 4-70 kilometers. Each battery consists of a mini multi-mission radar manufactured by Israel Aerospace Industries and three launchers, each equipped with 20 interceptors called Tamirs.

The radar enables Iron Dome operators to predict the impact site of the enemy rocket and decide not to intercept it if it is slated to hit an open area. Each interceptor costs between $50,000 and 100,000 and usually two are fired at rockets slated for interception.

Yaakov Katz contributed to this report

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