Iron Dome rocket-defense system - Defense Ministry
Test of the Iron Dome rocket-defense system on Monday July 19, 2010. The military said the test was highly successful. Photo by Defense Ministry
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The Defense Ministry released a video on Sunday showing the Iron Dome missile defense system intercepting a Grad rocket fired from Gaza.

The video shows an Iron Dome battery near Ashkelon take down a rocket which was fired over the weekend.

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The Iron Dome system has successfully intercepted eight rockets since it was first deployed. It is currently only being deployed on an experimental mode, with two batteries in operation: one near Be'er Sheva and one near Ashkelon.

While most of the media attention has been given to the visible interceptions made over Gaza, the system actually clicks into action automatically when any projectile is launched from Gaza toward Israel.

The commanders of the Iron Dome batteries were therefore faced with making dozens of real-time decisions on whether or not to fire an intercepting missile.

In the future, many of these decision will be made by the system's computers, but because the Iron Dome is in experimental mode, most of the decisions must be made by the operators themselves.

In the future, once the defense system's capabilities are better known, rockets heading toward open spaces in unpopulated areas will not necessarily be intercepted.

Hundreds of Ashkelon and Be'er Sheva residents arrived at the Iron Dome batteries over the weekend to express their gratitude to the troops who are operating the systems.