On Thursday, an IDF drone fired “a missile at a motorcycle” east of Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported, adding that while there were no injuries the motorcycle was destroyed.
Arrow 3 Trial (Defense Ministry)
The IDF has been carrying out strikes in the Gaza Strip against vehicles used by terrorist cells who launch incendiary aerial devices into Israel. The Hamas terrorist group, in turn, has launched mortar shells towards southern Israeli communities.
On June 20, Hamas, along with Islamic Jihad, launched a barrage of 45 mortars shortly after IAF jets struck three targets in the Strip in response to incendiary kites and explosive balloons launched towards southern Israel.
Seven of the projectiles were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system and another three fell inside the Strip. Four were found inside communities in the Eshkol Regional Council, causing damage to nearby homes and cars. One landed in the yard of an empty kindergarten.
A week later, at least 13 mortars were fired from the Gaza Strip after the IAF struck a vehicle said to have been heavily involved helping in Palestinians in launching incendiary devices into Israel. Two of the mortar shells were intercepted by the Iron Dome system over the city of Sderot.
Earlier on Thursday, the Defense Ministry announced that it had successfully conducted a planned missile test launch of the Iron Dome system from the Palmachim air base.
According to a statement released by the Ministry of Defense, the series of experiments were led by Rafael, the main contractor of the Iron Dome system, along with Elta and with the participation of the Israel Air Force and Navy.
During the test, the various types of targets which simulate the emerging threats developing in the area were launched.
“Homa [missile defense]will continue to develop the Iron Dome system in order to deal with the emerging threats in the arena in order to best protect the State of Israel,” read the statement.
Israel continuously improves the technology behind the country’s anti-missile systems and last year the Defense Ministry carried out a number of experiments using American-made components in the course of the missile interception tests for the first time.
The experiments, which were conducted in the south of the country, focused on the use of the “Tamir” interceptor and its ability to intercept a number of targets which were fired simultaneously at different ranges.
The Rafael-built system carries 24 pounds of explosives and can intercept an incoming projectile from four to 70 kilometers away and Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. which produces the radar system for the Iron Dome system through its ELTA division has reported sales of it to various armies around the world.
Israel’s air defenses currently include the Iron Dome, designed to shoot down short-range rockets and the Arrow system which intercepts ballistic missiles outside of the Earth’s atmosphere. The David’s Sling missile defense system is designed to intercept tactical ballistic missiles, medium- to long-range rockets, as well as cruise missiles fired at ranges between 40 to 300km.
In mid-June, the US Senate approved $500 million for Israel’s missile defense programs for the Iron Dome, Arrow-2, Arrow-3 and David’s Sling under the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act. Another $50m. was approved for US-Israel counter-tunnel cooperation.