Iron Dome-anti rocket system (image : Rafael)
More tests are expected in the next few months before the defense system is deployed in southern Israel to counteract rockets fired by Palestinian militants based in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.A model of the Iron Dome missile launcher, containing 20 Tamir missiles ready to launch. The missiles are stored ready to launch in the container-launcher, and are elevated to a nearly vertical position uponthe first alert of an imminent attack. (photo: Rafael)
The military commentator of private television Channel 10 said meanwhile the defense ministry wants to deploy the system near the southern Israeli border town of Sderot by the beginning of 2010.Iron Dome is expected to be able to intercept rockets with a range from four kilometers to 70 kilometers (2.5 to 44 miles).
"This system is a new defense element against rockets and will allow the Israeli army to better carry out its supreme duty which is to protect, in the best way, our civilian population," Defense Minister Ehud Barak said.
Israeli areas near the Palestinian enclave have been the target of homemade Qassam rockets fired by Palestinian militants since the start of the intifada in September 2000.
The militant Shiite group Hezbollah fired more than 4,000 Katyusha rockets at Israel during the 2006 summer war between the two sides, forcing one million residents to flee homes in north Israel or hide in shelters.