The system achieved an 86% kill rate, with only 35 rockets and mortar shells getting through to score hits, the military said.
By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News
The efficacy of the Iron Dome air defense system is being questioned after 690 missiles shot by Hamas and Islamic Jihad over the past weekend managed to kill four Israelis and injure more than 200.
Iron Dome, which is activated only once its computer calculates that the trajectory of an incoming projectile will hit a populated center, shot down 240 rockets, according to IDF figures. The system achieved an 86% kill rate, with only 35 rockets and mortar shells getting through to score hits, the military said.
Amid the massive barrages from the Gaza-based terrorists this past weekend, the concern has been raised that there are not enough Iron Dome batteries to go around and that there are too many geographical gaps left open, exposing too much territory to incoming projectiles. Israel currently has a supply of 10 batteries of the air defense system.
Until now, the IDF has been able to get away with shuttling them around the country in response to threats as they emerge. It is not enough, says Brig. Gen. Meir Elran, a former deputy military intelligence chief.
“The number of available batteries (some operated by reservists) cannot suffice as a response to the threat,” he wrote in a recent article for the Institute for National Security Studies.
It would be a significant problem if a real war broke out, he added, as the systems would be needed to protect vital infrastructure and military installations, and too many residential areas could be left uncovered.
The Hamas military wing has publicly attributed its recent “success” to the tactic of launching intense barrages to overwhelm the Iron Dome’s computerized radar systems.
“The Qassam Brigades, thanks to God, succeeded in overcoming the so-called Iron Dome by adopting the tactic of firing dozens of missiles in one single burst,” boasted Hamas spokesman Abu Obeida in a social media post. “The high intensity of fire and the great destructive ability of the missiles that were introduced by the Qassam [Brigades]… succeeded in causing great losses and destruction to the enemy.”
Another tactic which Hamas and Islamic Jihad employed was shooting extremely short-range rockets just over the border. So although the system is designed to intercept and destroy such projectiles fired from as short a distance away as four kilometers, this is still a major threat to the Israeli communities in the Gaza vicinity because there is very little time to react.
“We don’t have enough time to intercept it,” stated Yaakov Amidror, a former national security adviser and current senior fellow at the Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies, in a blunt assessment during an interview with The Jerusalem Post.