A crater left by a mortar shell
A crater left by a mortar shellIsrael News Photo: (archive)

Residents of Gaza Belt communities will soon have at least a few seconds' warning of incoming mortar attacks launched by Palestinian Authority terrorists in Gaza.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak has authorized the IDF to install a new mortar alert system in the area, adapted from the radar and warning system developed in Israel and already being used by the Israel Air Force.

The current "Color Red" system, which warns of incoming Kassam and other rocket attacks, does not sound an alert when mortar shells are launched, since mortar shells do not have a propulsion system.

The estimated cost of the system is approximately NIS 10 million. Recent heavy mortar fire in the area, combined with intelligence reports indicating that such attacks are likely to continue and if anything, only increase with time, make the system is a necessity, according to the Home Front Command.

"We are talking about a system which we have been recommending for some time… it will be adapted and hopefully set up in several areas within the coming month," said a Home Front Command officer.

'Iron Dome' to be Tested

The "Iron Dome" (Kipa Barzel) anti-missile defense system is set to be tested Thursday, according to Defense Ministry officials, one day later than its originally-scheduled test date.

The system, which is designed by Rafael Military Industries (Israel's Weapons Development Authority) neutralizes short-range missiles such as the homemade Kassam rockets and short-range Iranian-made Katyusha missiles.

Iranian-made Katyushas have begun to play an increasingly important part in the Arab terrorist arsenal against Israeli civilian targets.

"Iron Dome" was approved for development in 2007 as part of the lessons learned from the 2006 Second Lebanon War. The estimated cost of the project is approximately NIS 1.5 billion.