In just two weeks, Hamas has fired 7,000 rockets toward Israel, according to the Israeli military. That is more than any of the previous four wars fought between Israel and Hamas since the militant group seized power in Gaza in 2007.
Most of the rockets have been intercepted. But some have managed to get through, killing at least 11 people and hitting buildings as far away as Tel Aviv, according to Israeli officials.
Here is a look at the accomplishments — and limitations — of the Iron Dome.
HOW DOES THE IRON DOME WORK?
The Iron Dome is a series of batteries that use radars to detect incoming short-range rockets and intercept them.
Each battery has three or four launchers, 20 missiles, and a radar, according to Raytheon, the U.S. defense giant that co-produces the system with Israel’s Rafael Defense Systems.
Once the radar detects a rocket, the system determines whether the rocket is headed toward a populated area.
If so, it launches a missile to intercept and destroy the rocket. If the system determines the rocket is headed to an open area or into the sea, it is allowed to land, thus conserving missiles. According to the military, all interceptions occur in Israeli airspace.
The military declined to comment on how many Iron Dome batteries are currently deployed. But as of 2021, Israel had 10 batteries scattered around the country, each able to defend a territory of 60 square miles (155 square kilometers), according to Raytheon.