Israel deployed a cutting-edge rocket defence system on Monday, rolling out the latest tool in its arsenal to stop a recent spike in attacks from the neighbouring Gaza Strip.
Israel hopes the home-grown Iron Dome system will provide increased security to its citizens, but officials warned it cannot do the job alone. The system went into operation shortly after an Israeli aircraft struck a group of militants in Gaza, killing two. Israeli said they were about to fire a rocket.
The Iron Dome system has raised hopes that Israel has finally found a solution to the years of rocket fire from Gaza. The primitive rockets have evaded Israel's high-tech weaponry, in part because their short flight path, just a few seconds, makes them hard to track.
The government approved Iron Dome in 2007. Its developers have compared the effort to a high-tech start-up, working around the clock in small teams to perfect its weapons, radar and software systems. The developer, local defence contractor Rafael, declared the system ready for use last year.
Iron Dome uses sophisticated cameras and radar to track incoming rockets, determine where they will land, and intercept and destroy them far from their targets. If the system determines the rocket is headed to an area where casualties are unlikely, it can allow the weapon to explode on the ground.