IAF Colonel Tzvika Haimovitch
Photo: Yoav Zitun
The Iron Dome system in action
Photo: AFP

'Iron Dome has its failings'

With Beersheba suffering two direct hits in less than an hour, Air Force tries to lower public's expectations of rocket interception system. 'There is no hermetic seal'

"The Iron Dome system has many components and in spite of its many achievements, it has technical failures," said IAF Colonel Tzvika Haimovitch on Sunday after two rockets hit Beersheba. Haimovitch announced that a fourth Iron Dome battery will be deployed within the next few weeks.


On Sunday afternoon, the southern city of Beersheba suffered two direct hits within one hour. One woman was treated for shock after a rocket fell in a residential neighborhood in the city and caused damage to 15 homes. Soon after, another rocket hit a local school and caused damage, though thankfully, no injuries.


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In total some 30 rockets have been fired into Israel Sunday, with five people suffering from shock. In light of the latest events, schools in the area will remain closed on Monday in Beersheba, Ashkelon and Ofakim.


מקום נפילת רקטה בבאר שבע. "יש איומים נוספים" (צילום: הרצל יוסף)

Site of Grad rocket explosion in Beersheba (Photo: Herzl Yosef) 


Haimovich has sought to play down the optimism among defense establishment officials and the general public over the Iron Dome's high success rate. "The more batteries and operational personnel we add the more it will be able to contribute to increasing the defensive deployment area," he noted.


"We will be able to protect more civilians, greater areas and more strategic facilities. I suggest that we take a broader more educated look at the rocket threat because at the moment the escalation is in the Gaza sector, but I'm not sure that it is the scenario I'm preparing the combatants for. There are threats from the north and threats from afar."


Since the beginning of the escalation on Friday, some 100 rocket landing sites have been identified, according to IDF data. The Iron Dome system intercepted 37 rockets.


נפילת הגראד בבית הספר. "אין הגנה הרמטית" (צילום: הרצל יוסף)

The school where a rocket hit on Sunday (Photo: Herzl Yosef) 


"The escalation found us completely ready on Friday, at a complete operational level and full deployment of all batteries. The unit's achievements are very high," said Haimovitch.


Yet he added, "I have to say, there is no hermetic seal and so, only a combination of the Iron Dome and civilians adhering to the Home Front Command's directives will be able to maximize the defensive arch."


Since Friday, the IDF has carried out 24 strikes in Gaza, including 16 against terror cells who were attempting to launch rockets at Israel and eight on warehouses where weapons and ammunition were being stored and manufactured.




פרסום ראשון: 03.11.12, 19:40
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