The interception that almost ended in tragedy: Ynet learned that during an interception attempt by
the Iron Dome
missile defense system this Wednesday, above Ashdod,
one of Iron Dome's missiles strayed and landed in an open area not far from Route 4, near hundreds of moving cars.
During the eight days of fighting in Gaza, the Iron Dome missile defense system successfully intercepted more than 400 rockets fired at Israeli residential areas, thus saving numerous Israeli lives.
However, the system that enjoyed an 84% success rate had a few mishaps.
Iron Dome intercepts rockets from Gaza (Archive Photo: Dor Kafri)
Wednesday, around 4 pm, Grad rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip to Israel, targeting the city of Ashdod. Three missiles from the Iron Dome defense battery tasked with protecting Ashdod were immediately fired at the oncoming barrage.
One of the rockets succeeded in intercepting one of the Grads, whilst another Grad landed in a residential area within city limits, resulting in the light injury of one person and damage to some structures.
However, the main drama took place near the Iron Dome battery itself. One of the rockets fired from the battery did a mid-air about-face. Instead of heading upwards towards the Grad, the missile turned in the direction of the nearby Route 4. At the last moment the rocket deviated and exploded in an open area adjacent to Route 4, some 30 meters away from the highway's northern lanes.
As a result of the ground explosion, pieces of burning shrapnel from the rocket exploded by the side of the highway. Drivers heading north were forced to hit their brakes to avoid getting hit by burning shrapnel. Luckily, no damage or injuries were reported.
IDF sources said in response that the Iron Dome defense system plays an important role in the IDF's ability to protect the home front. They continued by saying that the system proved its efficiency and will only continue improve with time.
The IDF spokesperson had a similar response and stated that during the last week the Iron Dome system intercepted and shot down 421 rockets fired at Israel, thus playing a vital role in the IDF's ability to defend the home front. He continued to cite the system's unprecedented success rate as well as reiterating the idea that the system has already proven it's efficiency, despite the fact that it does not promise a complete hermetic protection.