Israel's Iron Dome air defence system intercepts volley of Hezbollah missiles

At least 30 rockets were fired at the northern border city of Kiryat Shmona

Israel's Iron Dome air defence system intercepts Hezbollah missiles

Israel's Iron Dome air defence system intercepts Hezbollah missiles
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Israel's Iron Dome missile system intercepted a volley of Hezbollah rockets over northern Israel on Tuesday.

Footage shared by Israeli media showed dozens of missiles lighting up the night sky over the northern city of Kiryat Shmona, close to the Lebanese border, before being stopped mid-air by the aerial defence system.

Israel launched a new attack on Lebanon in retaliation, killing a couple and their son, 25, in the southern village of Hula.

The Israeli army has struck Lebanon on a daily basis since October 8, when cross-border clashes erupted with Iran-backed Hezbollah militants amid the war in Gaza.

More than 52 of the 302 Lebanese killed in the strikes were civilians, according to an AFP tally.

Kiryat Shmona was the target of about 30 rockets fired from Lebanon in the latest barrage on Tuesday, according to the Israeli military.

It also said that at least 10 were successfully intercepted by the Iron Dome air defence system. It was not clear whether the remaining 20 were failed interceptions, or rockets that the system had decided not to intercept.

To save money on the system's Tamir interceptors, which cost up to $50,000, the Iron Dome system is designed to calculate where rockets will land, choosing not to shoot down rockets headed for unpopulated areas.

The war was sparked by the Hamas attack on southern Israel on October 7, with militants killing and kidnapping civilians and soldiers from southern communities and launching about 3,000 rockets.

Military analysts have told The National the Iron Dome system was overwhelmed by the sheer number of rockets fired during the attack.

A full-scale war with Hezbollah would probably limit the Iron Dome's effectiveness, subjecting it to a significantly higher number of missile attacks than under Hamas.

The military also hastened the launch of its Iron Beam system after the outbreak of war, which is designed to take down projectiles that are too small for the Iron Dome to engage.

The Iron Beam is expected to “neutralise” targets, including mortar bombs and short-range rockets, within four to five seconds.

Also in its arsenal is the Arrow defence system, which was used for the first time in wartime to shoot down Houthi missiles fired at Israel in late October.

The US provides significant funding and weaponry to Israel, which has killed more than 30,600 Palestinians in Gaza since the war began.

Some western allies, including the Netherlands, have been ordered to halt arms shipments to Israel in light of the mounting devastation in the Palestinian enclave.

Washington is reportedly seeking assurances from Israel by mid-March that it will abide by international law when using US-made weapons and will allow humanitarian aid into Gaza, where the number of civilians starving to death continues to climb.

Updated: March 06, 2024, 8:24 AM