190 rockets have been fired at Israeli cities from Gaza over the last 76 hours according to this March 12 report.
Israel has intercepted and destroyed many of them using the defensive weapon named Iron Dome.
It is not an offensive weapon as The Times alleges:
HonestReporting corrects the caption:
[The Times is] wrong. The Iron Dome intercepts Palestinian rockets approaching Israeli population centers like Ashdod, Ashkelon, Beersheva, etc.
Moreover, the Times can’t blame this on the European Press Agency’s original caption. The EPA got it right.
It is true that the rocket attack was in response to an Israeli airstrike against the kidnapper of Gilad Shalit.
This is the Telegraph’s report of the successful hit:
The commander of the Palestinian militant group behind the abduction of Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit was killed in an airstrike in Gaza on Friday. Zuhair al-Qaissi, the commander of the armed wing of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), a Hamas-aligned militant group, was targeted in a midday strike as his car rolled through Gaza City. His son-in-law and another aide also died in the attack while Israel’s military said it killed two more militants in a separate operation.
Then came the massive rocket attack from Gaza.
Rick Moran writes at Front Page:
Israel needed Iron Dome to perform above expectations the past few days because the PRC and its Islamic Jihad allies felt it necessary to respond to the pinpoint strike that took out al-Qassi. That strike reveals a slight change in Israeli defense doctrine, according to YNet News. While Israel has always reserved the right to take preemptive action against the terrorists, this sort of targeted assassination is the result of the terrorist attack last August that killed eight Israelis. the Israelis apparently had an opportunity to kill al-Qassi at that time, but decided against it because they knew there would be a retaliatory rocket strike by the terrorists on civilians. Once Israel’s intelligence services got wind of the plot, it was decided to take out al-Qassi despite the almost certain retaliation with rockets on Israeli civilian centers.
He provides this information about Iron Dome:
Iron Dome has an unconventional history. It took only three years from design to deployment — a rarity among complex weapons systems. The tracking system was developed by Elta, an Israeli defense company while the computer software was created by the Israeli firm Prest Systems. The interceptor rocket was built by Rafael.
It is a marvel of technology and can actually determine if a rocket is a threat to a population center, or whether it will land harmlessly in an open field. CNN describes the system:
“First deployed in April 2011, the Iron Dome system targets incoming rockets it identifies as possible threats to city centers and fires an interceptor missile to destroy them in mid-air. Each battery is equipped with an interception management center to calculate the expected location of impact, and to prioritize targets according to pre-defined targets. The battery also has firing-control radar used to identify targets, and a portable missile launcher.”
This was the first serious battlefield test of Iron Dome and it passed with flying colors. The Jerusalem Post reports that Iron Dome intercepted a total of 27 rockets for a 90% success rate. It is currently deployed around three of the larger cities in the south: Ashdod, Ashkelon, Beersheba. The system is entirely mobile and it is expected that once all batteries are deployed, Israel will potentially be able to intercept any missile fired from Gaza. …
The most common rocket in the terrorists’ arsenal is the Qassam – a small, inaccurate projectile whose major benefit appears to be its easy portability. There are several variants of the weapon and its range is limited to between 5 and 15 miles. Hamas also has a Russian-designed Grad rocket system that is truck mounted, which it purchased from Iran. Iron Dome can intercept all of these rockets.
A fourth Iron Dome battery is expected to be added later this year with 5 additional batteries to be manufactured by 2013. An Israeli defense official [said] it would take 13 batteries to cover the border with Gaza. …
The response to the rocket barrage from the terrorists by the Israeli air force has received the usual blanket coverage in the media, highlighting every Palestinian civilian casualty while downplaying — or not even mentioning — the rain of rockets that is constantly hurled at the Jewish state. Not reported in the media were the 45 separate rocket attacks by the terrorists just since January 1 of this year. That number does not include the attacks carried out over the last three days. …
With the fully tested and functional Iron Dome rocket defense system, the threat by terrorists to harm civilians will fade.