The IAF (Israel Air Force) began an inquiry yesterday to examine why the Iron Dome missile defence system responded to machine-gun fire from Gaza on Sunday evening.
No missiles were fired at Israel but tens of thousands of Israelis evacuated into air raid shelters after the code red warning siren was triggered in Sderot, the Ashkelon beach area north of Gaza and Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Council East of Gaza.
The IDF Spokesperson’s Office confirmed “no missile barrage was launched at Israel” and that the Iron Dome was “triggered due to machine gun fire from the [Gaza] Strip”.
The Commander of the IAF’s air defence systems Brig.-Gen. Zvika Haimovich, who will lead the inquiry, put the error down to “system oversensitivity”. “We don’t take chances in situations with even the slightest potential of harming either civilians or property,” he added.
Haimovich also explained that a decision to activate the Iron Dome had to be taken very quickly, saying: “[The] incident had a five-second reaction time in which we needed to decide, and that takes courage, clarity and professionalism”.
Israel launched approximately 20 interceptions on Sunday, each costing approximately $50,000. However Haimovich stressed that the safety of citizens would always remain the IAF’s priority, saying “we’ll continue minimising risks even at the price of paying high costs”.