Iron Dome shootdowns of Gaza rockets cost $25mln-$30mln - Israel

JERUSALEM Thu Nov 22, 2012 5:16pm IST

An Iron Dome launcher fires an interceptor rocket in the southern city of Ashdod, about an hour after a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas went into effect, November 21, 2012. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

An Iron Dome launcher fires an interceptor rocket in the southern city of Ashdod, about an hour after a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas went into effect, November 21, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Amir Cohen

Related Topics

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel's Iron Dome interceptions of Palestinian rockets during eight days of Gaza fighting cost $25 million to $30 million, the government said on Thursday, arguing the U.S.-backed system was well worth the money.

"Were Iron Dome traded on the (Tel Aviv) stock exchange or Nasdaq, it would have multiplied its share value several times over," Civil Defence Minister Avi Dichter told Israel Radio in an interview where he outlined the system's outlay.

Using radar-guided interceptor missiles, Israel's five truck-towed Iron Dome batteries shot down 421 of some 1,500 rockets launched from the Gaza Strip between November 14 and Wednesday's Egyptian-brokered truce, the military said.

It put Iron Dome's success rate at 90 percent. To lower costs, the system engages only rockets that threaten populated areas, though it often fires two interceptor missiles at once.

Rockets killed 5 people in Israel and wounded dozens during the conflict, police said. Three died in coastal Ashdod on a day when Rafael Advanced Defence Systems Ltd, Iron Dome's state-owned manufacturer, said the system had suffered a malfunction.

If more Hamas rockets had got through, especially the handful fired at the commercial hub Tel Aviv, and caused mass casualties, devastating Israeli retaliation perhaps including a full-scale ground assault would have been nearly certain.

A senior official estimated that such escalation could cost Israel as much as $380 million a day. Keen to stem that risk, the United States has been helping bankroll Iron Dome. President Barack Obama pledged further support on Wednesday.

Israel says it needs 13 batteries for satisfactory nationwide defence. A defence industry source put the unit cost for Israel at around $50 million.

The focus of Israel's aerial assault on Gaza were the stockpiles and launch silos of rockets imported or improvised by Hamas and other factions. Gaza medical officials said 162 Palestinians were killed, more than half of them civilians.

The most potent of those rockets were Iranian-designed Fajr-5s with 75 km (46 mile) ranges and 175 kg (385 lb) warheads, though Hamas also said it used a Gaza-made variant, "Qassam M-75".

Iran denies supplying arms to the Palestinians. But the Iranian Young Journalists Club website on Wednesday quoted the commander of the Islamic republic's Revolutionary Guards, Mohammad Ali Jafari, saying the corps had "put the technology of Fajr-5 missiles at their (Gazans') disposal and right now a good number of these have been made and are available to them".

Summarising the Gaza assault in a separate Israel Radio interview, Defence Minister Ehud Barak said: "Hamas's heavy rockets were destroyed (and) a large part of the mid-range rockets were destroyed." (Additional reporting by Marcus George in Dubai; Writing by Dan Williams, Editing by Jeffrey Heller)

FILED UNDER:
  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Ferguson Teen Shooting

REUTERS SHOWCASE

SAARC Summit

SAARC Summit

Modi gives Buddha a miss as SAARC leaders flock to Nepal.  Full Article 

Reuters Exclusive

Reuters Exclusive

U.S. to leave more troops in Afghanistan than first planned - sources.  Full Article 

Ukraine Crisis

Ukraine Crisis

Ukraine reports new arrivals of Russian supplies for eastern rebels.  Full Article 

Nuclear Iran

Nuclear Iran

Extended Iran nuclear talks leave bomb investigation in limbo.  Full Article 

Ebola Crisis

Ebola Crisis

Sierra Leone Ebola burial workers dump bodies in pay protest.  Full Article 

FARC Rebels

FARC Rebels

Colombia's FARC free two soldiers in step to restart peace talks.  Full Article 

Tunisia Politics

Tunisia Politics

Tunisian secularist wins first presidential round, heads for run-off.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage