A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman
March 11, 2012- Iron Dome's Success Continues as Missiles Continue to Fall
It was another day when 1,000,000 residents of southern Israel remained in or close to their bomb shelters. While the number of missiles that fell today was not as large as the number that fell over the weekend, a constant number of missiles continued to fall. Almost all of the missiles were shot down by Iron Dome. Two missiles aimed at Beersheva failed to be shot down. These missiles caused some limited damage. Two people were wounded, neither seriously. Luckily, school had been closed in Beersheva, since one of the missiles fell on a school's outdoor basketball court. This court would have been full of students at the hour at which the missile fell.
Expectations are that the current round of missile attacks will continue for at least another day or two. Both the Islamic Jihad and the PRC seem determined to continue these attacks, hoping to get lucky with one of their shots. According to sources, they are frustrated by the failures of their missile attack. First, they were surprised the assassination of their leader. They were further surprised by the fact that Israeli was ready for their reaction; having Iron Dome deployed and ready. The Israeli Air Force was also ready with follow up on the attacks, that have killed 17 of their members so far (and one 12 year old). The Egyptians, who in past confrontations have played a central role in negotiating a ceasefire, are much less involved now. Hamas, who has not taken part at all in this round of attacks has made it clear it wants a ceasefire. Israel has also decided not to be the first to stop, and will continue to hit targets in Gaza, as long as the missiles continue.
In terms of Iron Dome, just last month the army threatened not to buy anymore units because of its budget dispute with the Treasury. That threat has, of course, been forgotten. When it was delivered the IMI promised it would have 70% success rate. This rate reflected the Iron Dome's success in the first rounds around Gaza. This time, as a result of updates, the success rate has been 90%. The Air Force announced that the fourth Iron Dome battery will be put into service within a month. Expectations are that the army will acquire up to 14 Iron Dome units over the next two years. The Iron Dome system is being tweeked to handle longer range missiles, such as the Fajar, which Hamas has in Gaza and Hezbollah has in Lebanon. These missiles have a range of 70 kilometers..