Conflict & Justice

Iron Dome missile system deployed by Israel (VIDEO)


Israeli soldiers stand next to a launcher, part of the first Iron Dome missile defense system deployed in Israel, near the southern city of Beersheva on March 27, 2011.


David Buimovitch

Israel deployed a new missile defense system called the Iron Dome Sunday to protect its civilian population from rocket attacks.

Deployment of the $200 million system was accelerated because Israel faced recent rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza militants, Haaretz reports.

Israeli officials, who deployed the first mobile battery of the new system in Beersheba in southern Israel, said the Iron Dome is still experimental and cannot be relied upon to provide complete protection from rocket attacks.

"The Iron Dome system is still in an experimental stage, and at any rate, we cannot deploy batteries that can protect every house, every school, every base and every facility," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said as reported in BBC.

The army said it plans on deploying further anti-missile batteries in southern Israel.

The system is intended to "intercept and destroy" mid-range rockets with radar-guided missiles, according to the New York Times.

Beersheba has been the target of such rockets from Gaza including two last week.

Tensions between Israel and Gaza have heightened over the past week, leading to fears of another Israeli ground invasion of Hamas-controlled Gaza.

Over the past week, militants have fired more than 80 rocket attacks and mortar shells into Israel, and Israel has killed 10 Palestinians.

An Israeli air strike Sunday killed two Palestinian militants who were members of the Islamic Jihad group, BBC reports. Israel said the militants were planning on launching rocket attacks into the country.

After a bomb attack on Jerusalem killed a British woman and injured dozens of others, Netanyahu warned Friday that Israel is ready to act "with great force and great determination" to stop terror attacks.


-- Hanna Ingber Win