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Israel scrutinised for Iron Dome failure to catch rockets

Israeli army under scrutiny for failing to intercept Hezbollah rockets on military base
2 min read
15 February, 2024
One soldier was killed and several injured by a Hezbollah rocket that landed on a military base in northern Israel.
Israel's Iron Dome intercepts rockets fired from Gaza on October 8, 2023. [Photo by MAHMUD HAMS/AFP via Getty Images]

A female Israeli soldier was killed in northern Israel on Wednesday, sparking criticism against the Israeli army for failing to intercept Hezbollah’s rockets on a military base. 

The shell that killed Sergeant Omer Sarah Benjo, 20, fell inside a military base in northern Israel, according to the Israeli army.

But Walla!, an Israeli news website, alleged that the soldier's death was due to the failure of Israel’s air defense system, known as the “Iron Dome”.

Radars failed to read the course of eleven missiles fired towards the base, some of which were not intercepted, and at least one shell fell in the military area.

An anonymous military source quoted by Walla! said such a mistake calls into question the Israeli army’s response.

“We are not talking about a new type of missile, and it is not new that Hezbollah also operates by firing multiple of missiles in order to try to make the missions of defense systems difficult," the source said, discarding the possibility that Israel was caught by surprise.

The Iron Dome’s failure may also be due to difficult weather conditions or to a technical error, the source suggested.

The radars allegedly detected that the missiles were heading towards the Ziv hospital in Safed. The Northern Command base and batteries firing interceptor missiles, which missed at least one rocket.

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“The issue seems to lie in the timing of when the system was activated for the first time,” the source added. “Was there a delay in activating the system at the military base, causing some soldiers to only be on their way to the protected areas [when the shell landed]?"

The rocket damaged nearby buildings and wounded several soldiers.

Israeli strikes have killed at least 253 people on the Lebanese side, including 37 civilians, since a flare up in tensions following the beginning of Israel's war on Gaza in October of last year. On the Israeli side, 10 soldiers and six civilians have been killed by Hezbollah rockets, according to the Israeli army.