Several Arab Gulf states are engaged in negotiations to purchase the Israeli-developed Iron Dome missile defense system in an attempt to ward off possible threats from Iran’s “growing arsenal of missiles,” Sky News reported Tuesday.
While Bahrain was the only state explicitly named in the report, the country’s foreign minister indicated that other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council would acquire the defense system as well.
“The Israelis have their small Iron Dome,” Khalid bin Mohammed al Khalifa said during a visit to London. “We’ll have a much bigger one in the GCC.”
The Iron Dome system was developed to counter the rocket threat from the Gaza Strip, a territory from which Hamas and other organizations have fired since 2001 upward of 15,200 rockets and mortars at Israel. Sped to the field in a near unfathomable four years, the Rafael-made system was built to counter rocket threats from four to 70 kilometers away.
On April 7, 2011, several days after the system was made operational, it intercepted a Grad rocket fired from Gaza. Since then, the system has displayed an interception rate of roughly 85 percent, destroying or diverting the incoming projectiles.
During Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza last summer, Palestinian terror organizations fired 4,594 rockets at Israel. Of those, the system, which is designed to focus only on missiles deemed threatening to populated areas, chose to intercept 799 projectiles, hitting 735 and missing 64, according to a Channel 2 report.