During the rocket attacks that plagued Israel in the summer of 2014, and which resulted in Operation Protective Edge, the short-range mortars fired by terrorists in Gaza proved to be the most dangerous. This is because the Iron Dome system can intercept long-range rockets, and the red-alert system in place can also give Israelis a 15-second warning before such projectiles land. Now, The Times of Israel's Tamar Pileggi reports that a radar system is in place that will give the same 15-second alert to southern Israelis when short-range rockets are headed their way:
The system will shorten the time between the launch of a shell and when warning sirens are triggered, giving residents of communities adjacent to the Palestinian enclave a full 15-second warning of incoming shells, Army Radio reported Monday.
Though Israel’s current alert, based on the Iron Dome radar, warns of incoming rockets and gives communities about 15 seconds to reach shelters, it has proved less effective against short-range shells, often leaving residents little to no warning of attacks.
Alon Schuster, the head of the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council, welcomed the new warning system, saying the improvements could save lives.
“Those 15 seconds are important. They improve the response time for anyone who needs to find shelter,” he told Army Radio.
“People come to live here because they know that Israel does whatever it can to protect its citizens from existential threats, whether they come from the sky or from underground,” Schuster said, alluding to Hamas efforts to tunnel under the border.
Development of the system began in the wake of Israel’s war with Hamas in 2014, when the Gaza-based terror organization lobbed hundreds of rockets and mortars at Israeli cities and towns.
During the 50-day conflict, mortars proved to be one of the deadliest means of attack, claiming the lives of 10 IDF soldiers in a single week, three Israeli civilians and a Thai national.