Now it has been revealed that the exceptional actions of two Iron Dome system operators successfully prevented the explosion of at least one rocket and that the life of one of the soldiers involved was saved thanks to the resourcefulness of his comrade in arms.
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The IDF's Iron Dome operators received wall-to-wall praise in the recent escalation after they managed to intercept 85% of the rockets that the system tried to stop.
Iron Dome system operators (Photo: Avi Rokach)
Ynet has learned that at the height of the system's activity last week, a technician successfully fixed a malfunction which enabled the system to intercept a rocket fired at Ashdod, while another operator extricated him from the area where the intercepting missiles are launched.
The technician, career officer Sergeant First Class Eli Zada, was sent early last week to fix a technical failure on the Iron Dome battery responsible for protecting the capital of the Negev. Moments after the he began to fix the faulty battery, a siren alerting that at least one Grad missile was making its way towards the city was sounded.
The technician didn't hesitate and instead of running for shelter remained in place to fix the problem, making sure the battery was battle-ready.
According to Air Force safety regulations, troops are not supposed to remain within dozens of meters of the Iron Dome battery when an intercepting missile is launched, due to the incredible heat levels and fire that it emits.
The technician realized he didn't have any time to escape and his friends who noticed his position shouted at him to run. One of them, Eliran Siso, got into an army jeep and raced towards the battery where he managed to pick up Zada, who just barely managed to leap into the jeep at the last minute.
'Just doing our jobs' (Photo: Avi Rokach)
Ultimately, the Iron Dome operators managed to intercept the Grad rocket which had been heading for Ashdod.
Zada had leapt into the jeep without first collecting his equipment, against army regulations. When he returned to the battery he noticed that there was nothing left and that the equipment had all melted from the heat of the intercepting missile.
Both Zada and Siso were lauded for their actions by senior Air Force officers who praised them for their actions in defending the residents of Ashdod and their comrades on the Iron dome battery.
"It could have ended very differently without the resourcefulness of the technician who insisted on staying on the battery at great risk to his own life," Air Force officials stated.
In addition to the praise, the two brave operators were told that "the incident proves how very different our situation could be without the success of the Iron Dome system and more than that, without the work of the operating troops, technicians and combatants still posted in the southern cities around the clock."
Meanwhile, the two soldiers told their friends that "we were just doing our jobs and we are happy that the intercepting missile managed to thwart the Grad rocket fire."
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