Over the last month, the Israel Air Force deployed two Iron Dome
batteries in southern Israel, Middle East Newsline reported. The military stressed that Iron Dome was still
being tested as crews underwent training.
"Our Iron Dome intercepted two projectiles successfully," Israeli Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.
The military sources did not confirm that two Palestinian rockets were
intercepted. They said, however, that Palestinian gunners had fired several
Grads toward Ashkelon.
"During IDF operations in Gaza Strip region on Thursday evening [April
7], an Iron Dome battery successfully intercepted a rocket fired from Gaza
towards Israel," an Israeli military statement said.
Iron Dome was designed to intercept missiles and rockets with a range of
up to 80 kilometers. But the sources acknowledged that the system needed
further enhancements to handle salvos as well as mortars. So far, 178
mortars and rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip in Israel in 2011.
"Hamas knows this and has been firing mostly mortars with ranges too
short for interception by Iron Dome," the source said.
Israel intends to procure up to six Iron Dome batteries by mid-2013,
officials said. They said the Defense Ministry, based on a promise of $205
million in U.S. aid, was discussing additional production with Rafael.
"This gives us hope that over time we can develop some better defense
for our civilians," Netanyahu said.