Yesterday (Tuesday), "Red Alert" sirens were sounded in the Gaza envelope. "Iron Dome" interception system combatants talk about their dramatic moments after intercepting dozens of rockets and mortar bombs over the last 24 hours. "We are doing everything we can to defend the daily routine of Israel's civilians"
Yesterday (Tuesday) began with a salvo fired towards Israel at 6:59 AM which continued until late at night. "Iron Dome" weapon system combatants from the Air Defense Division participated in the operation and defended Israel's skies.
Lt. Niv Ben-David, a young officer who was situated in the IMC (Interception Management Center), shared: "My shift in the IMC was about to end. We were aware of the tension following last week's occurrences in the Gaza Strip. Therefore, we weren't surprised when we saw the first target appear on the screen. We handled the scenario quickly, performing the interception in a matter of seconds. A few minutes later, several additional targets appeared and we intercepted them as well". The targets were launched from several locations in the Gaza Strip later attacked by the IAF. "There was a lot of excitement, you have to stay as sharp as possible", he added. "If we don't intercept the target, it will fall in Israel's territory".
Lt. Niv lives in Meitar, a village in southern Israel. He is protecting his own home, literally. "I'm proud of my position in the Air Defense Division and of what I do every day. The significance of my work is huge", he said. This was the battery's first operational interception since Operation "Protective Edge". Maj. Bar Haimovich, added: "Every 'Iron Dome' service member is filled with pride today. We face a complex threat, but we fulfilled our goal and managed to intercept. We made the right decisions and ensured the safety of our civilians. Our work is based on a strong vocation and we understand the responsibility on our shoulders. We do everything we can in order to ensure Israel's civilians live their day-to-day safely".
According to data conclusions, as of 8 PM last night, 70 rockets and mortar bombs entered Israel's territory and either fell or were intercepted. The Air Defense Division combatants intercepted a large number of rockets and mortar bombs using advanced capabilities the likes of which have never been seen before, thus preventing damage to villages in the Gaza envelope. "We have been preparing for an event of this sort 24/7/365. We briefed and talked to the soldiers in order to prepare them mentally for a real-time situation such as this one".
Cpl. Shahar Baran, a combatant who was at the site of the launcher, said: "We have been in this space for several months. Seeing as it was a low-altitude interception, we could see the intercepting missile's trail all the way to the target. The noise was deafening".
Fragments of a Second
The rockets and mortar bombs directed towards Israel were the first direct action after a tense period beginning on March 30th. This period included riots on the border and attempted terrorist infiltrations into Israel's territory. The deployed air defense batteries remained vigilant, which allowed for a high success rate during the operation.
"Intercepting a mortar bomb is challenging. The response time required from the operator and from the 'Iron Dome' weapon system can sometimes be a fraction of a second. Therefore, the system cannot always provide a sufficient defensive response", emphasized Maj. Bar. "We prepared ourselves for intercepting mortar bombs, and most of the targets correctly turned out to be mortar bombs. After the initial debrief, I understood the mission's complexity and the best possible solution. I am satisfied and proud of my battery and of the Air Defense Division".