Israel's "Iron Dome" anti-missile defense system

An Iron Dome missile is launched in Tel Aviv, to intercept a rocket fired from Gaza Saturday.

Oded Balilty/AP

An Iron Dome missile is launched in Tel Aviv, to intercept a rocket fired from Gaza Saturday.

JERUSALEM (AP) — The Israeli military is calling its ‘‘Iron Dome’’ a big success.

Israel has used the missile-defense system to intercept rockets Gaza-based militants have been firing toward civilian areas over the last four days. The military says the home-grown system has shot down some 240 incoming rockets, more than half the number launched into Israel since Wednesday.

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Residents of Tel Aviv cheered today as an Iron Dome battery shot down a rocket headed for the city.

The system has been operational since last year and five batteries have been deployed, including the one set up outside Tel Aviv today.

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Officials say the Iron Dome has a roughly 80 percent success rate. It detects rocket launches and quickly calculates the flight path. If the rocket is headed toward populated areas or sensitive targets, an interceptor with a special warhead is fired. It’s capable of striking the incoming rocket within seconds.

The Iron Dome is meant to protect against short-range rockets used by militants in the Gaza Strip and Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon.

Israel has also deployed its ‘‘Arrow’’ missile defense systems for long-range threats from Iran.

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