ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 145

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IDF: ‘Technical error’ caused Iron Dome to malfunction during flare-up with Gaza

Several rockets fired earlier this week slammed into populated areas in Sderot, causing injuries, as air defense system failed to intercept; issue was quickly fixed

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

An Iron Dome air defense system is seen in southern Israel, May 2, 2023. (FLASH90)
An Iron Dome air defense system is seen in southern Israel, May 2, 2023. (FLASH90)

An Israeli Air Force investigation into the activity of the Iron Dome air defense system during a flare-up of violence with the Gaza Strip earlier week revealed a “technical error” during one of the rocket barrages that resulted in projectiles not being intercepted before they landed in populated areas.

The military said Thursday that the issue, which occurred on Tuesday afternoon, was fixed by the IAF immediately after it was discovered, and did not recur on Tuesday evening or on in the early hours of Wednesday when more rockets were fired.

The Tuesday afternoon barrage saw several rockets slam into populated areas in southern Israel, including one that hit a construction site in the city of Sderot and wounded three foreign nationals.

The Israel Defense Forces did not elaborate on the issue that apparently caused several rockets to not be intercepted.

The IAF said in its investigation that the Iron Dome interception rate of rockets heading for populated areas amid the daylong flare-up was 90.5 percent. Last year, the IDF boasted of a 97% interception rate by Iron Dome.

According to the military, over 100 projectiles — including rockets, mortars, and shoulder-launched missiles fired at Israeli aircraft — were launched from Gaza during the fighting that began Tuesday morning and ended Wednesday morning.

The Iron Dome air defense system intercepts a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip towards southern Israel, May 2, 2023. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

The Iron Dome intercepted 24 of the projectiles. Another 48 projectiles landed in open areas in southern Israel, 14 fell short in Gaza, 11 landed in the sea, and another seven had unknown impact sites, the IDF said.

Police said officers dealt with at least five rocket impact sites in urban areas, some of which landed close to homes.

The Iron Dome has seen similar malfunctions in the past. In May 2021, a technical issue with an Iron Dome battery during a massive rocket barrage toward the coastal city of Ashkelon prevented some rockets from being intercepted and may have been responsible for the deaths of two women and the injury of dozens of people.

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