Has Hamas Underestimated Iron Dome’s Defensive Capabilities While Israel Strikes Targets in Gaza?

It has to be life an experienced not unlike an acquaintance with the lower levels of hell as people residing in the Gaze Strip are subdued throughout the night during Israeli Defense Forces targeted strikes on Hamas strongholds.

While the barrage of bombs raining down on Gaze, intermittent air raid sirens are sounded in Tel Aviv heightening fear in hearts of Israeli citizens that have settled the city.

And so that’s how it’s been for three days straight. In that time, 3 Israelis have been killed, one wounded, while IDF have killed 39 according to Palestinian officials.

Within the last hour explosions were heard in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv after yet another air raid siren went off. It has, however, been reported that the latest rocket fired by Hamas was intercepted in mid-air, saving the city from a direct hit, according to Israeli army police.

The Iron Dome battery which had been deployed in the region just hours earlier is reportedly responsible for intercepting at least one rocket fired from Gaza today.

Overall the war is taking its toll on Hamas’ military regime. Thus far, what can be gleaned from recent AP reports is that Hamas is reeling from their losses. Witnesses say, an Israeli strike did, in fact, target the home of a Hamas leader in the Jabaliya refugee camp – one of the most densely populated places in the world.

It looks as though the missile went in through the front room. The washing is still hanging on a line, but everything else is totally destroyed. Most of the people around that area are young children. We understand that 30 people were injured, some of them children, and some of them critically.

There were a lot of strikes in the south of Gaza in Rafah, targeting some of the smuggling tunnels.

The Hamas prime minister’s HQ, hit with five missiles, also totally destroying that building, which was almost certainly evacuated. But the scene there is typical of what’s been happening all week that is that civilians are being caught up in the violence.

Nevertheless, attacks are starting to resemble the back and forth seen in a boxing ring. After IDF launch massive strikes on Gaza, like clockwork, air raid siren are sounded in the Tel Aviv area and in Rishon Lezion, followed by a blast sound.

Shortly thereafter the latest attacks on the Tel Aviv area, sirens were also heard in Beersheba, Sderot and Ashdod. In Ashdod, a rocket landed in an open area. No injuries were reported.

In Sderot, two rockets were intercepted and another landed in an open area at the Bnei Shimon Regional Council.

On Friday, a siren was heard in Tel Aviv at 1:29 pm and was followed by a blast. The rocket exploded in an open area. Hamas claimed responsibility for the firing. The Tel Aviv Municipality then decided to open all shelters in the city for the public.

On Thursday, Tel Aviv first came under the rocket range. The Islamic Jihad fired two missiles at the city. The IDF said that no rockets hit the ground. There were no injuries.

Earlier on Saturday, a barrage of four rockets was fired from Gaza toward Ashdod at around noon Saturday. One of the rockets struck a building in the city and two others landed in a residential area.

A number of people suffered from anxiety. The fourth projectile did not cause any injury but damaged a vehicle. Channel 2 said four people sustained light wounds during the attack on Ashdod. They were evacuated to the Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot.

Roughly 15 minutes after the direct hit on the building the Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted another four-rocket salvo that was fired toward Ashdod.

A short while later another rocket launched by Palestinian terrorists hit a house located in the Negev’s Eshkol Regional Council.

The house was empty at the time of the attack. A barrage of five rockets was fired from Gaza toward Beersheba, all exploding in open areas. Four rockets fired toward Be’er Tuvia were intercepted.

Earlier on Saturday, four soldiers sustained light injuries when a mortar landed in the Eshkol Regional Council.

More than 60 rockets were fired toward Israel on Saturday after the Israeli aircraft leveled the Hamas government building in Gaza City.

According to footage from an AP television news report, one could see smoke emanating from an Iron Dome battery deployed in Tel Aviv.

For those unfamiliar with Israel’s Iron Domes, they are mobile air defense missile systems, which were first developed in early 2007. Their development came as a result of the damage and loss of life inflicted on Israel during the “Second Lebanon War” in 2006. Hezbollah reportedly fired 4,000 rockets, which landed in northern Israel, including its largest city Haifa. Not only did the massive barrage kill 44 Israeli civilians, it also caused more than 250,000 citizens to permanently evacuate to other cities within the country’s borders.

The experience led Israel’s then Defense Minister, Amir Peretz, to contract RAFAEL advance Defense Systems Ltd, according to defpro.com.

RAFAEL worked with the IDF to create the military defense system now called, “Iron Dome.” Specifically, the military instrument can counter short-range rockets and 155mm artillery shell threats with ranges less than 70 km. The system comes equipped with a built in radar system and interceptor missiles.

In terms of functionality, the “Iron Dome” radar detects and identifies an enemy rocket, and monitors its trajectory. This process automatically enables the Battle Management & Weapon Control system to process the data. If the estimated rocket trajectory poses a critical threat, a command is communicated by the system within a fraction of a second to launch an interceptor, which uses its radar seeker to acquire the target (it becomes the target), and guides itself and the intercepted rocket to detonate far from the protected area, according to army-technology.com

The Iron Dome deployed in Tel Aviv has been extremely successful in shielding Israeli civilians and military personnel from the barrage of rockets fired upon the city. The latest intercept reportedly shows people huddled along Tel Aviv’s beachfront boardwalk cheering as  interception took place on Saturday.

Counting Saturday, over the last four days Gaza militants have fired rockets at Israel’s bustling commercial and cultural capital; Tel Aviv. In spite of these efforts by Hamas to inflict maximum damage, Israel says, its Iron Dome system has intercepted nearly 250 rockets since Wednesday.

It appears that Hamas may have underestimated the defense capabilities of Iron Dome as their losses have exponentially risen beyond what they have inflicted upon their opponents.

The imbalance has been evident from the very start of the conflict as it seems that while Israel’s air strikes consistently hit their intended targets in Gaza, Hamas’ efforts, though terrifying, have only managed to lightly wound a few Israeli soldiers.

This summery of harm inflicted thus far, in no way disregards the fact that Hamas has killed three Israelis. However, this article is intended to suggest how relieved IDF may be feeling in the aftermath of their opponent’s miscalculations.

Read more: http://www.seattlepi.com/news/world/article/Israel-shoots-down-Tel-Aviv-bound-rocket-4045668.php#ixzz2CUf7mR5Q

D. Chandler and AP also contributed to this report.