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The Incredible Missile Battle Above Israel

The skies have been absolutely insane this week. 

Imagine living in a city where the only thing between you and a rapidly approaching missile was a bunch of machines known as the "Iron Dome."

That's the situation in Israel, which depends on a network of rocket batteries to ping militants' missiles out of the sky before they can do any damage. The Dome has proven to be Israel's great defender in the latest Middle East flashover, sending up flurries of roaring projectiles to block the punishing rain of rockets sent in by fighters in Gaza.

The smart-sensing system, which is funded by hundreds of millions of dollars from the United States, has intercepted 90 missiles out of about 250 from Wednesday to Thursday, reports the Telegraph. (The Dome is intelligent enough to not shoot at ones headed for non-inhabited areas.) That means that the skies have been absolutely insane this week. Thanks to amateur documentarians posting footage of the atmospheric skirmishes online, the entire world now knows what it's like to live in a real-life version of "Missile Command" – albeit one with real lives at stake on both sides.

Here's how hotly the Iron Dome has been firing these past few days. This video purportedly shows the military machine picking off Gaza rockets near Be'er Sheva on Wednesday:

This is daytime footage allegedly from the same location showing direct Dome hits:

Again, out of Be'er Sheva comes this shaky video of Israeli missiles screaming toward approaching rockets, perhaps Grads:

Top image of an Iron Dome battery near Sderot from NatanFlayer on Wikipedia.

About the Author

  • John Metcalfe
    John Metcalfe is CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, based in Oakland. His coverage focuses on climate change and the science of cities.