Over 12,500 rockets fired at Israel by Gaza Strip terrorists, creating an unbearable reality for over 1,000,000 civilians, defended by Iron Dome anti-missile technology

Date: 16/04/2012, 12:50 PM     Author: IDF (Zahal) Website

Exactly 11 years ago, terrorists in the Gaza Strip launched a rocket at civilian communities in southern Israel for the first time. Since then, over 12,500 rockets have been fired at over one million Israeli civilians, creating an unbearable reality. For 11 years, the rocket fire has been disrupting normal life, damaging property and threatening innocent lives – so far killing over 40 civilians and injuring dozens more. Since the beginning of 2012, already 269 rockets hit Israeli territory. During escalations, when rocket fire increases, entire families are forced to stay in bomb shelters between recurring sirens.

The Gaza Strip is a 41 km long and 6 to 12 km wide region located on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Gaza Strip population stands at 1.6 million and is bordered by Israel and Egypt. Israel completely withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005 in a unilateral disengagement, though Gaza terrorists continue to launch rockets at Israeli communities.

In response to every rocket launched, IAF aircraft target the responsible terrorists with direct, precise strikes. Many times the IAF is able to recognize terrorists as they prepare to launch rockets, and manage to thwart yet another attack. Launching sites, terror infrastructure, and tunnels used for weapon smuggling are targeted as well, thwarting additional attacks.

The IDF (Zahal) will not tolerate any attempt to harm Israeli civilians or soldiers, and will operate against anyone who uses terror against the State of Israel. The Hamas terror organization is solely responsible for any terrorist activity emanating from the Gaza Strip.

The Iron Dome anti missile defense system

Led by head of research and development, Brig. Gen. Danny Gold, construction of the Iron Dome system began in 2005. Already in 2009, first interception tests proved successful and on April 7, 2011 the system was put into operational use and for the first time successfully intercepted a rocket fired at civilian communities in southern Israel.

The Iron Dome operates day and night and at all climate conditions to intercept short range rockets, capable of counteracting multiple simultaneous threats. Radars detect a rocket launched at and transfers data of its route to the command and control system that calculates where it will hit. If the location threatens lives or property and justifies interception, a counteracting missile is launched against the rocket. The head of the intercepting missile explodes near the rocket at a location without inducing any harm.

Today there are three Iron Dome anti-missile batteries stationed in southern Israel, a fourth battery to become operational in the near future.

With every rocket fired at civilian communities in southern Israel, the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system made headlines creating a buzz in the media. During the recent escalation in March, the system successfully intercepted 56 rockets of 73 that were directly threatening civilian communities.

Recent escalation in southern Israel and Gaza

The recent escalation in southern Israel took place in March, during which over 300 rockets were fired at Israeli territory by terrorists in the Gaza Strip. The IDF (Zahal) responded with pinpoint air strikes targeting those responsible and thwarting additional attacks, mostly executed from within residential areas and using civilians as human shields.

During the escalation, IDF (Zahal) Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Yoav (Poly) Mordechai assured during a radio interview that, “we will not allow this unbearable reality to continue plaguing the lives of civilians in southern Israel. No country in the world would allow this and we will continue operating against every terror body active in the Gaza Strip… The IAF along with exact intelligence reports has been successful in directly targeting these terrorists as they prepare to launch rockets.”Brig. Gen. Mordechai continued to accuse the Hamas terror organization as responsible for the attacks.

After one of the situating assessments held during the escalation, Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz said, “Over the weekend more than 120 rockets were fired at Israeli territory. 90% of the rockets that were directed at highly populated regions were intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system. The IDF (Zahal) is demonstrating its exact, high-quality operational capabilities in response.”

Prior to the recent March escalation, another escalation took place in August, 2011.

For specific data of the rocket fire, check out A Timeline of Terror: 2001 to 2012