A look at Israel's "Iron Dome" anti-missile defense system

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Associated Press

Posted on November 17, 2012 at 3:04 PM

Updated Saturday, Nov 17 at 7:32 PM

JERUSALEM (AP) — The Israeli military is calling its "Iron Dome" a big success.

Israel has used the missile-defense system to intercept rockets Gaza-based militants have been firing toward civilian areas over the last four days. The military says the home-grown system has shot down some 240 incoming rockets, more than half the number launched into Israel since Wednesday.

Residents of Tel Aviv cheered today as an Iron Dome battery shot down a rocket headed for the city.

The system has been operational since last year and five batteries have been deployed, including the one set up outside Tel Aviv today.

Officials say the Iron Dome has a roughly 80 percent success rate. It detects rocket launches and quickly calculates the flight path. If the rocket is headed toward populated areas or sensitive targets, an interceptor with a special warhead is fired. It's capable of striking the incoming rocket within seconds.

The Iron Dome is meant to protect against short-range rockets used by militants in the Gaza Strip and Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon.

Israel has also deployed its "Arrow" missile defense systems for long-range threats from Iran.

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APPHOTO XOB102: An Iron Dome missile is launched in Tel Aviv, to intercept a rocket fired from Gaza, Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012. Israel bombarded the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip with nearly 200 airstrikes early Saturday, the military said, widening a blistering assault on Gaza rocket operations to include the prime minister's headquarters, a police compound and a vast network of smuggling tunnels. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty) (17 Nov 2012)

<<APPHOTO XOB102 (11/17/12)>>

APPHOTO BA118: Rockets lunched by Palestinian militants towards Israel make their way from the northern Gaza Strip, Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012. The Israeli military says its "Iron Dome" rocket-defence system has shot down an incoming projectile bound for Tel Aviv. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa) (17 Nov 2012)

<<APPHOTO BA118 (11/17/12)>>

APPHOTO DV126: An Israeli Iron Dome missile is launched near the city of Be'er Sheva, southern Israel, to intercept a rocket fired from Gaza Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012. Israel bombarded the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip with nearly 200 airstrikes early Saturday, the military said, widening a blistering assault on Gaza rocket operations to include the prime minister's headquarters, a police compound and a vast network of smuggling tunnels. (AP Photo/Ahikam Seri) (17 Nov 2012)

<<APPHOTO DV126 (11/17/12)>>

APPHOTO XOB107: Israeli soldiers sit next to Iron Dome defense system launch site, deployed in Tel Aviv to intercept incoming missiles from Gaza, Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012. Israel bombarded the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip with nearly 200 airstrikes early Saturday, the military said, widening a blistering assault on Gaza rocket operations to include the prime minister's headquarters, a police compound and a vast network of smuggling tunnels. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty) (17 Nov 2012)

<<APPHOTO XOB107 (11/17/12)>>

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